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Chapter XVII 

The Town of Portsmouth 


By Floyd McKnight 

A S NOTED IN a previous chapter, the town of Portsmouth came into 

/% being in 1752. The history of its site — in the southwest angle 

£ % formed by the Elizabeth River and its Southern Branch — prior to 

that year has been given elsewhere in these pages. It might be appropriate, 

however, to review some facts about the owners of the land. 

One of the early landowners here was Captain William Carver, mariner, 
who in 1664 received a grant of land where Portsmouth now stands. He 
later became a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and a leader in 
the short-lived but bitter Bacon's Rebellion. In the early deeds he was styled 
a mariner, but later was called a merchant. He was, among his other attain- 
ments, surveyor of the Southern and Eastern Branches of the Elizabeth River. 
His son, Richard Carver, owned land at Lambert's Point. 

But above all, William Carver was an early American patriot at heart. 
It was his zeal for the interests of the colonists, combined with his innate 
love of liberty, that led him to join with Nathaniel Bacon in 1676, a century 
before such patriotism became the mode of the day. After burning Jamestown, 
Bacon pressed the best available ship into service on the James River to drive 
off smaller ships which opposed his effort. He thoroughly trusted Carver, ac- 
cording to the accounts or Bacon's own secretary, Edward Good. In fact, he 
trusted Carver more than his own close associate and lieutenant named Bland. 
It was with such feelings that he sent Carver to Accomack to capture Gov- 
ernor Berkeley, who was to be sent to England as a prisoner and tried before 
the King for his treatment of the King's subjects in Virginia. But when 
Bacon died and the rebellion collapsed. Carver went to the Governor as an 
emissary on Berkeley's written pledge of safe conduct, which Berkeley broke. 
Instead, Berkeley secretly sent forces to seize Carver's ship in the river — a 
betrayal made possible only by the fact that Bland had played traitor to 
Bacon's cause and joined with the Governor's supporter, Larramore. The 
result was that both Bland and Carver were put in irons and three days 
later were hanged. 

Thus came the end of the first owner of this site, whose lands were for- 

Va. 2—1 


feited to the English Crown because of his alleged treason. Portions of these 
lands, with additional land bringing the total figure to 1,129 acres, were 
granted in 1716 to Lieutenant Colonel William Craford,* a wealthy merchant 
and ship owner, who was at different periods presiding justice of the Norfolk 
County Court, the county's high sheriff and a member of the House of 
Burgesses, as well as lieutenant colonel in command of the county militia. 
He was also a lot-owner in Norfolk Town, and grandson of William 
Craford, Gent., of Plymouth, who died in Norfolk County in 1700. 

It was Colonel Craford who, in 1752, set aside approximately 65 acres 
of his plantation as a little town, which he named Portsmouth, after the 
great English port of this name. Dividing the property into half-acre lots, 
he set aside the four corners of High and Court streets for a church, a 
market, a court house and a jail respectively. Gershom Nimmo, Norfolk 
County surveyor, made the original map of the area, and this map is still 
extant. To the north the town was bounded by Craford's Bay, according 
to this map; to the east by the Elizabeth River; to the south by Crab Creek; 
and to the west by Dinwiddle Street. 

In 1752 the town acquired municipal existence through an Act of As- 
sembly establishing the Town of Portsmouth. This act recited that William 
Craford had lately laid out land south of the Elizabeth River, opposite 
Norfolk, into 122 lots and streets, with places for a court house, a market 
and a public landing. Because of the heavy toll of fires, against which 
no adequate protection yet existed, the building of wooden chimneys, which 
caused many of the fires, was forbidden. As laid out in the Act of Establish- 
ment, the town was bounded on the east and north by the Elizabeth River, 
extending to the north side of South Street and Crab Creek on the south. 
The western border was the east side of Dinwiddie Street. Craford Street, 
at first called Main Street, was the last street on the eastern side extending 
along the river. Next to it was Middle Street, named because of its position. 
North Street was first called Ferry Street, because the Norfolk Ferry operated 
from the end of it, where the Seaboard warehouses now stand. Columbia 
Street was called Crabbe Street through the nineteenth century. 

The founder himself lived ten years after the beginning of the Town of 
Portsmouth. At his death in 1762 he left most of his lands, including the 
unsold town lots, to George and Thomas Veale. In 1763, the year after 
Craford's death, the lands of Thomas Veale were annexed to Portsmouth, 
extending the western boundary to Chestnut Street. In that same year town 
trustees were provided for by an Act of Assembly, and those named were 
Thomas Veale, Charles Stewart, Humphrey Roberts, David Purcell, Francis 
Miller, Andrew Sprowle, James Rae and Amos Etheridge. Sprowle had 

Alias Crafford, modernly Crawford (its original pronunciation). 


purchased from Thomas Bustin the land that became Gosport under his 
guidance, and he was an early leader of commerce and industry. Among 
Sprowle's creations were several industries and the marine yard which eventu- 
ally grew into the famous U. S. Naval Shipyard. The English Government 
considered Sprowle's shipyard in a convenient place for a navy agent, and 
named him to this post. Sprowle held that assignment until the outbreak of 
the American Revolution. In 1776 Gosport was partially burned, and at the 
same time a furious mob burned Sprowle's house. Both Sprowle himself 
and the Governor, one of whose intimates he was, had left Portsmouth to- 
gether. In 1784 Sprowle's property was officially forfeited, and the General 
Assembly named three commissioners to sell the land and lay out Gosport 
in conformity with the already well-established portions of Portsmouth. The 
sale proceeded unsatisfactorily, since many of the purchasers lived elsewhere 
and did not keep their contracts. 

Meanwhile, the Portsmouth community suffered heavily from the ravages 
of war and revolution. Sprowle's Gosport shipyard had prospered and 
flourished, and had been used by British Navy ships as well as by merchant 
vessels. Sprowle, a Scotsman and a Tory in both sympathy and economic 
interest, saw the American ports of Portsmouth and Gosport as akin to the 
similar naval ports of the same names in England. Portsmouth (in Hampshire, 
England) contained a Royal Dockyard (Naval Shipyard) as early as 1540, 
exactly opposite the town of Gosport at the entrance to the Harbor. In 
Gosport there was a Naval Hospital, a gunboat slipway. Naval Barracks and 
Naval Storehouses.* After having taken refuge with Lord Dunmore, Sprowle 
died in 1776. 

As early as October, 1775, Dunmore had captured all arms in the Ports- 
mouth area and publicly boasted that Norfolk was defenseless. On Novem- 
ber 7 he declared martial law and offered freedom to all slaves who would 
take up arms for the King. On December 9, 1775, he attacked the American 
militia and was defeated at the battle of Great Bridge, after which he 
withdrew his forces to the British Fleet anchorage in the Elizabeth River. 
On January 1, 1776, he opened fire on the Borough of Norfolk with his 
own naval guns and partially burned it, as has been detailed in another place. 

During that period many Portsmouth homes were also burned, as well 
as some public buildings. Gosport suffered a like fate. Buildings that were 
not burned were often taken over for use as barracks for the Loyalist Militia 
during the occupation by the English. Under Major General Charles Lee, 
American troops then occupied Portsmouth, from which they kept watch 
upon Lord Dunmore and his forces, who had taken up a position west of the 
town. Evacuating this position in May, 1776, Dunmore and his men sailed 

* 22 EncBrit 132, 12 EncBrit 267-8. 


out of the Elizabeth River to occupy Gwinn's Island, in Matthews County. 
He was driven from that place, too, in July, 1776, and finally sought refuge 
in New York. 

Mill Point, a property belonging to Robert Tucker, Jr., was taken over in 
1776 by American troops, who built Fort Nelson on that site. The fort was 
named after Thomas Nelson, Jr., a member of the House of Burgesses. 
Later it became unnecessary when Fort Monroe was built, and in 1828 the 
famous Naval Hospital was built there. In May, 1779, Portsmouth was 
invaded by the English under General Matthewes. Arriving in the fleet of 
Admiral Sir George Collier, they entered the Elizabeth River and took pos- 
session of Fort Nelson, which the Americans had failed in their attempt to 
destroy. There followed the burning of the Gosport shipyard by the British. 
Admiral Collier wrote in his official report to the Admiralty that Gosport 
Yard was "the most considerable one in America, and that in addition to 
great stores of timber destroyed, many fine ships of war were burned on 
the stocks." The English then conducted raids nearby, burned the town of 
Suffolk, and returned by sea to New York. 

By October, 1780, Portsmouth again vsas an object of British attack — 
this time by General Leslie and his British army, who landed in an effort to 
establish contact with Lord Cornwallis in the Carolinas. Their stay was brief, 
because they soon sailed for Charleston. In December, 1780, Brigadier General 
Benedict Arnold entered the Virginia Capes, conducted raids along the 
James River and occupied Portsmouth with his English troops. He established 
headquarters at the northwest corner of High and Middle streets, in the 
home of Patrick Robinson, and used the old sugar-house at the south end 
of Craford Street as a barracks and prison. He was soon joined by Major 
General Phillips, and the two together planned and effected a series of for- 
tifications in and near Portsmouth. Surviving British maps show their locations 
along Washington Street. 

In July, 1781, Lord Cornwallis came with his army to join with the troops 
at Portsmouth, and in August they left for Yorktown, where Cornwallis 
surrendered in October. Portsmouth was left reduced and broken by war, 
with many of her people in want of homes, food and employment. They 
nevertheless turned their spirits to the task of rebuilding. In a petition to 
the General Assembly, dated May 31, 1783, thirty-nine local property owners 
declared that they "laboured under many inconveniencies for want of some 
internal policy to be governed by," and requested that the Town Trustees 
be empowered to levy an annual tax to cover public improvements, regulate 
markets and remove nuisances. The Assembly later in the year complied 
with these requests, and authorized a market-house which was built in High 
Street. Norfolk was just recovering from the ravages of war, and Portsmouth 
for a time made a bid for a position as the major port of Virginia and also 


tried to extend her trade with North Carolina. With a view to attracting 
merchants from Baltimore, Philadelphia and other places to the town, citizens 
addressed another appeal to the Assembly in quest of a more extensive 
waterfront. An Act of 1784 accordingly authorized subdivision of Gosport 
lands into lots and the sale of these lots to the public, retaining only the 
shipyard tract as state property. A later act of that year annexed Gosport 
to Portsmouth, and in 1789 a bridge was built at the south end of Craford 
Street to connect the two places. 

British acts prevented American trading with the West Indies. But 
British vessels landed in the Elizabeth River, loaded merchandise and grew 
rich at the expense of local citizens. Angered by lack of retaliation, they 
petitioned the Assembly in 1785 for redress, writing that "we find ourselves 
excluded from any share in the carrying business, which if not speedily re- 
dressed must shortly end in a total loss of that valuable branch of mechanics, 
shipbuilding, and want of nursery for seamen, the great bulwark of mari- 
time powers . . . When we cast our eye over our harbours we see there 
scarcely a flag, but of that Nation, which so lately displayed them in these 
very harbours, with intentions the most hostile and diabolical, this too at a 
time when not a vessel belonging to the United States, even in distress, is 
permitted to enter any of the ports or harbours in the British West India 

Local maritime interests were unable to overcome this miserable plight, 
however, for more than a decade. In 1790 Portsmouth had about 300 houses 
and a population of 1,700. Of these, 1,039 were white, 616 were slaves and 
47 were free Negroes. In 1794 Congress authorized construction of six 
frigates because of war with the Barbary States. These were the United States, 
Constitution, President, Congress, Constellation and Chesapeake. One of these 
ships was built in Gosport Shipyard, which was lent to the War Department 
for the purpose. The Navy Department did not come into separate being 
until 1798. In 1801 the Federal Government paid Virginia $12,660 for the 
sixteen acres of land then in the Navy Yard, which passed into Federal 
hands. Commodore Richard Dale, Portsmouth Revolutionary hero, and John 
Paul Jones's lieutenant, became the Yard's first Federal Commandant. The 
Gosport-built vessel, the Chesapeake, was one of the finest in the early Navy, 
but her encounter with the British frigate Leopard off the Capes in 1807 was 
one of the causes leading to the War of 1812. 

In 1795 a sale of land was conducted, this time by lottery, and $490 came 
in as a result and was applied to the building of a road to Deep Creek and 
a causeway between Portsmouth and Gosport. In December, 1800, local cit- 
izens petitioned the Assembly to remove the county seat of justice from the 
Town of Washington, now Berkley (a part of Norfolk), to the Town of 
Portsmouth. An act authorizing this removal was adopted in 1801, but 


Portsmouth did not become the actual county seat until a new court house 
was built. The building was completed in 1803 at the northeast corner of 
High and Court streets. The jail occupied the corner on the opposite side of 
Court Street, where the Court House now stands. The present Court House 
was completed there in 1846. 

The Town of Portsmouth, with Gosport Navy Yard, narrowly escaped 
capture again by the British in the War of 1812, when a large British landing 
force was defeated at the battle of Craney Island. The harbor had been 
blockaded from February, 1813, by a squadron under Admiral Sir John B. 
Warren, who with 2,600 troops under Brigadier General Sir Sydney Beckwith 
made an attack in June of that year upon the barren island which guarded 
Portsmouth at the mouth of the Elizabeth. State militia, regulars and some 
seamen from the frigate Constellation defended the island. They numbered, 
in all, about 750 men under command of Brigadier General Robert B. Taylor 
of Norfolk. The Portsmouth Light Artillery, later known as Grimes Battery, 
took a leading role in the battle under command of Captain Arthur Emmer- 
son, of Portsmouth. 

From the very beginning of its history, Portsmouth shared one circum- 
stance with the other Hampton Roads communities — namely, its ties with the 
sea for trade, for defense, for its very lifeblood. The salt streams and inlets, 
the larger and smaller rivers, the great bay and lesser bays constituting the 
harbor of Hampton Roads, and the wide open sea leading to or inviting 
commerce and conquest: These were important to the Indians in times gone 
by, as to those earliest adventurers — Captain Christopher Newport, Captain 
John Smith and hosts of others who were their contemporaries or followed 
them in history's procession, and became responsible for establishing British 
civilization and culture on American shores. 

Norfolk, established as a town in June, 1680, was early an eminent port 
in the West Indies trade; and gradually Portsmouth came to participate in 
this busy commerce. From its establishment as a town in 1752, its waters 
were dotted with sailing ships and all manner of seagoing and inland water 
craft. Portsmouth and Norfolk together have always enjoyed a magnificent 
harbor. Surrounding waters were filled with vessels which brought in needed 
supplies to merchants who, like those of Norfolk, were mostly of Scottish 
origin. After complete destruction of Norfolk Borough by Lord Dunmore's 
fleet, which avenged his defeat at Great Bridge, Portsmouth gained some 
advantage through being left free to carry on some essential business. 

The dislocations of that period were vexing but relatively brief; for 
Norfolk rebuilt as quickly as possible. By 1796 Portsmouth had 300 houses 
and 1,700 inhabitants. Ten years later, in 1806, it had increased these figures 
to 400 houses and 3,000 inhabitants. By the beginning of the nineteenth 
century a vigorous trade had developed with the Antilles. Portsmouth had 


two shipyards; Norfolk, four. And in 1801 the United States Navy Yard 
was established on the Southern branch of the Elizabeth River, at Gosport. 
The establishment of the county court at Portsmouth also helped to increase 
the community's importance, while the opening of the Dismal Swamp Canal, 
largely through George Washington's continuing efforts* improved trade 
activity in the entire Hampton Roads area. The opening of vast forest lands 
brought a strong revival of the lumber industry and strengthened the naval 
stores business around 1828 and 1829 and in the years that followed. The 
success of those trades aided in promoting a general trade revival. By 1835 
there were more square-rigged vessels in the waters of this region than at any 
time after 1820. Another indication of the commercial improvement came 
January 19, 1834, with the chartering of the Portsmouth and Roanoke Rail- 
road Company. Norfolk had subscribed $60,000 for 1,200 shares on April 3, 
and on December 4, 1833, an additional $40,000 for 800 more shares — a 
total of $100,000 — a fact which was the more remarkable in view of the 
fact that the terminus was in Portsmouth, not Norfolk. This is matter that 
has been discussed previously. 

Thus the earlier rivalries between different communities were gradually 
giving way to co-operative effort as a broader understanding of the common 
interest developed. After the air had been cleared in the War of 1812, peace 
and prosperity brought better relationships, even with England, the tradi- 
tional enemy. Many of Britain's merchant vessels, engaged in the West Indies 
trade, were constantly tied up at local docks, loading and unloadmg their 
great cargoes of commerce, without attempting, as of old, to expel all others 
from similar pursuits. The Navigation Law of May, 1820, had stopped British 
goods from entering American ports and American goods in return from 
going to British ports. That measure had sharply cut into the West Indies 
trade and caused a general dulling down of business and a tightening of 
money. By 1826 the Non-Intercourse laws further served to bring trade be- 
tween the United States and Britain to a standstill. But in 1828, even during 
that depression period, work began on the building of the drydock at United 
States Navy Yard. It was only gradually that the ill feeling and distrust 
between England and America sufficiently abated to permit resumption of 
ordinary trade relationships. And with this trade resumption healthier business 
and social conditions returned. 

Building operations increased. In 1827 the Naval Hospital was built near 
old Fort Nelson, on the Portsmouth side of Hampton Roads. The drydock 
was already in process of erection. The 1820s, in addition to bringing com- 
mercial troubles with England, were a time of domestic storm and stress, 
including a great gale which in 1821 swept away the drawbridge over the 

* See Chapter XXIV. 


Eastern Branch and seriously interfered with shipping. In February, 1823, the 
great fire in Market Square, Norfolk, was a cause of upset throughout the 
area. But the late 1820s and the 1830s were a time of recuperation and 
improvement. In 1836 the Town Trustees received authority to pave, grade 
and light the streets of Portsmouth, as well as to regulate the construction 

(Courtesy Library and Museum Norfolk Naval Shipyard) 


of wharves and a Town Hall and to purchase land from public savings for 
important civic projects. On June 8, 1836, a new almshouse was sanctioned. 
On September 15, 1836, Portsmouth participated in Norfolk Borough's 
celebration of the centennial of its incorporation. 

In 1831 Water Street was laid out by act of Assembly, running from one 
end of the town to the other and measuring 40 feet in width. In 1839 many 
town lots were sold on this new street. The east side of First Street had by 
that time become lined with docks and warehouses, owned mainly by the 
families of Dickson, Young and Coxe, who also had built fine brick homes 
on the same street. First Street remained important until about 1840, when 
it began declining. At that time Crawford Street (as it was now spelled) 
became a favorite residential center in Portsmouth proper, while its lower 
portion was given over to shops and businesses. Some of Portsmouth's fine 
early houses had been destroyed by fire and wind in the 1820s, and rebuilding 


in the ensuing decades was designed along more substantial proportions. 
Houses in the main followed the style of their English counterparts. 

No record of all Portsmouth's famous visitors is easily obtainable; so 
many of them came and went without fanfare of any kind. But General 
Lafayette's sojourn in the town in 1824 was royally hailed, not only in 


( Courtesy Library and Museum Norfolk Naval Shipyard) 

Portsmouth but in all the surrounding communities. In 1833 President Andrew 
Jackson and his entire Cabinet came for the opening of the drydock. Henry 
Clay was a visitor in 1844. 

Like other communities in Virginia, Portsmouth worshipped with a few 
exceptions in the faith of the Anglican communion until the Revolution. 
Port Norfolk was the glebe of Portsmouth Parish until that time, then was 
confiscated along with the other glebes by the State of Virginia. It was on 
this glebe property that the British landed when they captured Portsmouth 
in 1779. Troops marched thence to Scott's Creek, crossed it, and made their 
entry to Fort Nelson from the rear while a collier was bombarding the fort 
from the water. Here, too, on the old glebe land, was the historic Glebe 
School, the original site of which later became a playground for colored 
children. Deep woods surrounded the old glebe; the old Glebe House faced 


the river at what is now the southeast corner of Mount Vernon Avenue and 
the Boulevard, and on the land here rose immense shade trees and a few 

Early suburban trends were evident in such communities as Waterview, 
embracing Dale's Point, the birthplace of Richard Dale and the site of his 
grandfather's farm; Glenshealiah, a part of the old Herbert property, owned 
by Beverly Bayton, then by his grandson, Beverly Armistead, who developed 
it into a fine community; and Deep Creek, a still older district. 

Life in the old days of Portsmouth is hard for the modern mind to 
imagine. The larger picture was one of water covered with ships, graceful 
with white sails. Every ship entering the harbor fired a cannon — a practice 
which continued until relatively recent times. The last shipping company to 
give it up was the Old Dominion Line, plying between New York and 
Norfolk. Leading sports were horse racing and cockfighting. An old adver- 
tisement read: "Elizabeth River Parish challenges any other parish or county, 
to fight a main of cocks at any time in the ensuing month, for several hundred 
dollars. Joel Cornick — At the Gardens." Hampton cocks were accepted fighters 
in this brisk sport of old. Hayward's, at Lambert's Point, and the Strawberry 
Banks, at Hampton, were great cockfighting resorts. 

"Their Mecca on this side of the river was the Edwards farm, especially 
toward the middle of the last century. In later days these mains were opened 
to the public at large. The owner of this farm, Mr. John Edwards, was a 
character in the town. He lived alone and lived as he pleased, accepting no 
rule of life but his own will. He was a man of splendid physique, and well 
dressed in the style of a former day, wearing ruffled shirts of fine linen, high 
stocks and trousers fitting close to the calves of his legs, and buttoned from 
knee to ankle, giving the appearance of knee breeches. His bow was a model 
of courtesy and his manners most agreeable, but his vocabulary of oaths was 
inexhaustible. In fact, his conversation was so interlarded with profanity that 
it required courage to converse with him. The gentlemen of the community 
met at Mr. Edwards' for their cockfights, and when the Grand Duke Alexis 
of Russia was in Norfolk in 1877, Mr. Edwards arranged a main of cocks 
for his special pleasure. So enthusiastic was the royal visitor over the sport 
that his host slapped him on the back and called him a 'good sport,' and 
afterwards named the two streets that he was cutting through his property, 
'Cossack' and 'Muscovite,' in honor of the Grand Duke." 

The provider of this brilliant hospitality, Mr. Edwards, wrote a will filled 
with ribaldry, ridicule and nonsense as his life approached its end, making 
generous bequests, stipulating a funeral at 3 A.M., with no services, and with 
burial under an old tree on the premises by eight able-bodied colored men 
replacing the customary pallbearers. These colored men were to be stuffed 

* Mildred M. Holladay's History of Portsmouth. 


afterward at a banquet. Familiars of Mr. Edwards and, as it may be imagined, 
a host of others gathered to celebrate the occasion when it came. A great 
crowd appeared late at the Edwards house, many of them young dandies of 
their day; and one person who attempted to utter a prayer at the grave was 
mobbed. Cockfighting was then taboo, except on the quiet, and it may be 
assumed that the sport was freely enjoyed on that last night of John Edwards' 

With the appearance of more prosaic tmies, the old Edwards property 
was given over to streets, lots and marine barracks. But sport did not depend 
alone upon men of John Edwards' stamp. There was a Portsmouth Cricket 
Club at an early date, as well as a Portsmouth Quoit Club. Sack racing and 
rat-baiting were available for the rougher element. The socialites of earlier 
times had their cotillions, balls and assemblies. Drinane's Coffee House was 
a center for these activities. Later they took place in Maupin's Hall, built on 
the same site. A very elaborate ball of which some record remains was the 
Centenary Ball at Oxford Hall in February, 1852, celebrating 100 years of 
Portsmouth's official life as a town. 

The early wars and Revolutionary period were, of course, a deterrent to 
educational and cultural life. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, 
when the glebe lands of the old Established Church had been sold by the 
State of Virginia, provision was made that the money received from this 
source should be turned over to funds for education of the poor. Educational 
funds were further augmented by sale of the Marine Hospital, at Washington 
Point (Berkley), to the United States Government by the State in 1799, 
proceeds from that sale being divided between Portsmouth and Norfolk. In 
Portsmouth the use of it was for education of the poor, and the money was 
placed in the hands of "school commissioners." In 1843, after many abuses, 
the commissioners decreed that they would pay for no child's education unless 
the matter was specifically approved by them. 

In 1843 the Odd Fellows' Order started a school, providing a teacher 
to teach 100 pupils at the same time. The tuition per student was $1.25, and 
the lodge supplied books and necessary materials. This old Odd Fellows' 
School was really the parent of the public school system. An Act of Assembly 
in 1845 established "free schools" in Norfolk County and Portsmouth, the 
fund for this purpose being divided on the basis of population and turned 
over in Portsmouth to the commissioners to handle. In 1846 the old Ports- 
mouth Academy, incorporated in 1825 and operating from 1827 onward as 
a military school, was ordered to be sold; and two years later, in 1848, full 
control of the Free Schools was turned over to a board elected to manage 
them. School buildings were built at that time, although churches and other 
structures were used temporarily pending completion of these new schools. 

The first school building was completed in Newtown, just off Fourth 



Street, at its intersection with Wythe, near the site of the present Friends' 
School, in 1850. The new school system took over the old "Academy" at 
Glasgow Street, near Middle Street. In 1855 this school was used to house 
plague-stricken refugees from Gosport, where yellow fever had struck with 
a special vengeance, killing hundreds. Portsmouth was a heavy sufferer from 
that horrible epidemic, which ravaged the entire Hampton Roads area. The 


Academy later became an orphan asylum, and in 1861 was converted into a 
barracks. The Federal forces took over at that time when the Confederates 
evacuated. As for the general school system, it was started on a meager 
allotment and was inadequate in any modern sense of the term. In the county, 
outside Portsmouth, matters were more difficult still. At Wallaceton one 
pupil walked three miles to school each day. 

It was in 1815 that the small side- wheeler 'Washington puffed up the 
Elizabeth and local people wondered at their first steamboat. But, of course, 
years passed before steam power replaced the old sails in this picturesque 
harbor. In 1820, a year after incorporation of the Town of Portsmouth, 
the Navy Yard launched its first ship-of-the-line, the 74-gun Delaware. 

In 1832 the trustees of the Town of Portsmouth were authorized to 
prohibit burial of the dead within the town limits. At the same time au- 


thority was granted for purchase of a four-acre tract adjoining the town's 
northwestern limits, on Effingham Street, for use for this purpose. This tract 
subsequently became Cedar Grove Cemetery. 

Portsmouth's oldest church. Trinity Protestant Episcopal, was built in 
1762 as the parish church of Portsmouth Parish, which had been set up a 
year earlier, when the original Elizabeth River Parish had been subdivided. 
This structure was several times rebuilt and remodeled, but it still stands 
at High and Court streets, on the half-acre lot donated by William Craford 
for the purpose. The second oldest church, Monumental Methodist, was 
founded in 1772, and it is the oldest Methodist Church in the South, though 
not independent from the Episcopal Church until 1784. The Portsmouth 
Baptist Church (now Court Street Baptist) was founded in 1789; the Fourth 
Street Baptist Church was founded in 1855. Other important churches in the 
city are: St. Paul's Roman Catholic, St. John's Episcopal, and First Presby- 

In 1836 Portsmouth sought and received legislative authority to regulate 
the building of wharves, to establish a "hospital in a retired situation and 
to remove thereto persons infected with the smallpox or other contagious 
disease," and to erect a magazine "in a remote situation" and name its 
keeper, requiring everyone to deposit all powder in his possession in excess 
of a certain quantity to be fixed by ordinance. 

Portsmouth's journalistic interests started early, though in the first instance 
newspapers had their origin in Norfolk, serving Portsmouth as a neighboring 
community, as pointed out in an earlier chapter. Portsmouth acquired a paper 
of its own, the Virginia Palladium, in 1827. Many others followed, including 
the Portsmouth Transcript, published by D. D. Fiske, and the Portsmouth 
Democrat, by H. E. Orr. 

After the mid-eighteenth century the ferry landing was at the east end 
of North Street, originally called Ferry Street. But in 1839, for the convenience 
of patrons from all parts of Norfolk County, the Legislature sanctioned a 
removal of the ferry landing to its later site at the foot of High Street. 

Such were a few of the changes that took place to meet the needs of a 
town whose population had almost quadrupled in the half-century following 
1790. In 1840 there were 6,387 inhabitants, of which 1,890 were slaves and 
423 were free Negroes. The centennial year, 1852, was marked by two im- 
portant changes. The old Board of Trustees was replaced by a popularly 
elected mayor and council, and the town was laid off into two wards. The 
whole area east of Court and Fourth streets was named Jackson Ward, and 
the remaining portion was called Jefferson Ward. 

But years of progress were not without their attendant sorrows. Natural 
calamities were for the most part the result of wind and fire. In March, 
1845, a destructive gale brought with it the highest tide in twenty years 



and the loss of considerable property. Waterfront streets were so completely 
submerged as to be navigable by boats while the flood waters remained high. 
In 1847, earlier in the spring, there had been a busy period for English and 




^r?2^>^ «,tc « 



This well-Unown LEAJ}IXCIiOTl I Ins 1 cen thoiuuj^lil\ flik \-ited 
anil rofuiiusliL'cl, .iiul nciw otl'crs uiisui|i;issc(l accouiiiiodationN to 


It is centrally situated, being in close ])ioximity to the Post Officei. 
Banks, TeV-graph Offices, Court House, City Mall and other places of busi* 
ness usually sought by visitors. t 

Liglitid until Gas and Heated by Steam throughout. Larg^ 
and iccll lighted Sample Rooms. | 

Telephone communication with Norfolk and Berkley. 

(Courtesy Library and Museum Norfolk Naval Shipyard) 

THE city's leading HOTEL FOR MANY YEARS 

American shipping in an effort to relieve the Irish famine of the period. 
Grain and provisions were in particularly heavy demand, 800,000 bushels of 
corn being inspected in April, May and June of that year. 

In 1849 there was an epidemic of Asiatic cholera in the area. In the 
autumn of that year gas lights appeared in Norfolk, and shortly afterward 
made their way to Portsmouth. A famous bank robbery took place on Janu- 
ary 18, 1852, when a branch of the Bank of Virginia was successfully 
plundered. It was not until the following autumn that a Bostonian named 


Rand was convicted of the crime and sentenced to ten years in the State 
Prison. While awaiting a new trial, he escaped from prison and was never 
recaptured. The loss to the bank totaled $66,000, but its credit was not 

Portsmouth was more progressive than many Virginia communities with 
respect to the establishment of railroads. Pioneering in this effort was the 
Seaboard Air Line, which had its start in 1834 in the organization of the 
Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad, already mentioned. 

In 1855 Portsmouth was especially badly hit by the yellow fever epidemic 
which ravaged this shore area at that time. A merchant ship, the Ben Franklin, 
recently arrived from the West Indies, had arrived at the Page and Allen 
Shipyard for repairs, just outside the Navy Yard's First Street gate. Trapped 
in the ship's holds were swarms of yellow fever mosquitoes, which were re- 
leased when the hatches were opened. This mosquito was not then known 
to science, and the cause of the epidemic was not recognized. But the 
plague quickly spread in both Portsmouth and Norfolk, and in less than 
three months approximately one-tenth of the population of both towns died 
from the sickness. Those who were able to travel fled from the terror, and 
only the bravest stayed to care for the ill and bury the dead. Physicians and 
nurses came from other cities and states to lend their help in the emergency. 
But the fever continued unabated until cooler weather came in the early 
fall to bring the first real relief. Many families were wiped out. Children 
were left orphaned, to be cared for by relatives and friends. And the terror 
was the greater because the cause of the malady was not then known. 
Whenever illness descended upon local people for years afterward, fear 
came that perhaps the dread disease had returned. 

In the next chapter, we shall tell of how Portsmouth ceased to be a town 
and became a City. 

References on Chapter XVII 

Robert W. Lamb, Our Twin Cities of the Nineteenth Century: Norfolk and Portsmouth, Their 
Past, Present and Future, Barcroft, Publisher, Norfolk, Va., 1887-1888. 

Mildred M. Holladay, History of Portsmouth, book manuscript of series of articles all published in 
the Portsmouth Star, January 19, 1936. 

Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker, Torchbearer of the Revolution, the Story of Bacon's Rebellion. 

Chapter XVIII 

The City of Portsmouth 

By Floyd McKnight 

PORTSMOUTH, LIKE MOST other Virginia urban communities, went 
through three stages in acquiring full municipal status: (a) estab- 
lishment (;;o/ incorporation) by law as a town (1752), (b) incor- 
poration as a town still under jurisdiction of the County (1819), and 
(c) incorporation as an independent city (1858). The last step occurred in 
Portsmouth when, on March 1, 1858, the Legislature passed a law reading 
in part as follows: 

"Be it enacted by the general assembly, that the territory contained within 
the limits of the town of Portsmouth, prescribed by sundry acts of the 
assembly heretofore passed, shall be deemed and taken as the city of Ports- 
mouth; and the freeholders, housekeepers and inhabitants are hereby made 
a body politic and corporate, by the name and style of The City of Ports- 
mouth . . ." 

Most of Portsmouth's people were opposed to secession. Their forbears 
had fought to help establish the Union, and they wished no backward step. 
But Lincoln's call for Virginia troops to battle against her sister states of the 
South served to marshal sentiment here, as elsewhere throughout the state, 
in favor of secession. When the secession ordinance was actually passed, with 
reluctance, the newly-created City of Portsmouth became a major sufferer, not 
only in the actual fighting, but from the occupation by Union troops. More 
men of Portsmouth actually went into the Confederate armed forces than 
there were voters in the city. 

The United States Naval Hospital, on the site of what had formerly been 
Fort Nelson, and which had but recently served as a center of care for yellow 
fever victims, now became the location of batteries of war. The mounted 
cannon which today stands on the hospital grounds, commemorating Fort 
Nelson, and which was erected by the Fort Nelson Chapter of the Daughters 
of the American Revolution on May 9, 1906, truly bespeaks the trials and 
horrors through which this city passed in those difficult times. 

On April 20, 1861, Union forces evacuating the city set fire to the Navy 
Yard. A State Navy was then organized to take possession of the Yard — 
the second time in history when such a navy was created. Over it the flag of 

Va. 2—2 

r* ^ 

































Virginia rose, replacing that of the Union. When the Confederacy was 
formed soon afterward, the Confederate flag took its place there. 

The South, with a very small Navy, and with limited industrial capacity, 
sought a plan for an "unsinkable ship." Stephen R. Mallory, Confederate 
Secretary of the Navy, said: "Inequality of numbers may be compensated for 
by invulnerability." Lieutenant John M. Brooke, a distinguished naval sci- 
entist, and John L. Porter, a naval constructor of Portsmouth, undertook to 
make over the steam frigate Merrimac, which had been scuttled and partly 
burned when the Union forces abandoned the Navy Yard on April 20, 1861. 

In July, 1861, reconstruction of the Merrimac began. Her hull was cut 
down to just above the water line, and she was covered with a sloping roof 
with iron plating four inches thick. She was given a cast iron prow for use 
as a ram, and fitted with ten heavy cannon. Her tonnage was 3,200. She was 
275 feet long, with a beam 38 feet 6 inches and a depth of 27 feet 6 inches. 
Her draft when loaded was 22 feet and her speed about 9 knots. She carried 
a crew of 320 men. Her new name, the Virginia, clung to her less tenaciously 
than her original one. Nothing like this ship had ever been seen before. 

As news of her existence leaked out to the North, President Lincoln 
became very interested in the new development, since most vessels in the 
Union Navy were of wooden construction, after an ancient custom. In Oc- 
tober, 1861, the United States Navy signed a contract for an ironclad warship 
to be designed by John Ericsson, a Swedish engineer and inventor who had 
lived in the United States for several years. His plan was for a small ironclad 
steamer, set so low that her deck would be only a foot above water. This 
would make her hard to hit. The deck would be bare except for a small 
pilot-house and a revolving turret containing two guns which could fire in 
any direction without turning the ship. Federal officers, skeptical, inserted 
a clause in the contract requiring Ericsson and his associates to refund the 
cost of the ship — $275,000 — if she should fail in her encounter with the 
Merrimac. So sure was Ericsson of his design, however, that he accepted the 
contract terms without hesitation. The Monitor was launched in 100 days 
from Brooklyn, New York, where she was built, and mechanics worked on 
her day and night until the very hour of her sailing. She had a tonnage of 
987, was 172 feet long, with beam 41 feet 6 inches and a depth of 11 feet 
4 inches. She carried a crew of 52. 

The encounter on March 9, 1862, of the two ironclads, was an important 
episode of the war and an all-time first in point of ship construction — a 
harbinger of future developments. The President himself, with Secretary of 
the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and 
Brigadier General Egbert L. Viele, had a rough voyage to Fort Monroe to 
get a look at the Merrimac in early May, 1862. During a week's absence 
from Washington, they personally sized up the situation at Hampton Roads 



and under the President's direction planned the seizure of Norfolk. With the 
Menhnac in hiding at Seaweil's Point and threatening the Union's activities 
in the entire Hampton Roads area and beyond, they calculated that if 
Norfolk could be taken the enemy ironclad would have to steam up the 
James River, where it would do less damage. By the end of the day of 

■nV r^rf i^^"*^^^" ^^ -^'^^^ 

(Courtesy Library and Museum Norfolk Naral Shipyard) 

May 10, Norfolk had fallen, while Lincoln was still at Fort Monroe. At 
5 o'clock the next morning, just before the President's departure, news was 
brought in that the Confederates had blown up the Merrimac and that now 
the entire Union fleet could be sent up the James and York rivers to support 
McClellan's campaign against Richmond. 

During that period. General Robert E. Lee's brother. Captain Sidney S. 
Lee, was one of the Navy Yard's three Confederate commandants. The Yard 
was destined to undergo its third destruction by fire on May 10, 1862, when 
the Confederate forces evacuated both Portsmouth and the Navy Yard, which 
along with Norfolk were occupied by the Union. Federal troops by whose 
bayonets the people were ruled at that period were under command of 
General Benjamin F. ( "Beast") Butler, whose methods were condemned 
even by the Northern press; and afterward Portsmouth's economic and social 
recovery was retarded by the effects of this occupation. Through the re- 


mainder of the War, the Navy Yard served the Union, and when that brutal 
period was at an end the Yard was rebuilt, and gradually began to show 
the influence of modern technological developments. 

For the general public, the so-called "9 o'clock gun" made an impression 
after it was first fired in 1866, traditionally as a curfew signal. It still remains 
today a time-honored institution. In 1867 a large bell was hung in the cupola 
which surmounted the First Street gate. As electricity made its inroads, an 
electrical fire-alarm system was installed in 1886. The telephone appeared in 
1888, and naturally the Navy Yard was one of the first areas to establish 
a complete telephone system. In 1889 the first use was made of a railroad 
extension within the confines of the Yard, and in the same year the second 
drydock was completed. In 1891 the Labor Board had its beginning. The 
Naval Post Band was a recognized community institution from 1887 onward, 
often playing on festive occasions after giving its first concert in that year. 

With the introduction of electricity, telephone, telegraph and railways, as 
well as of greater quantities and expanded uses of iron, the Yard took on 
a new aspect and new responsibilities. Leading in the construction of a "steel 
and steam Navy," the Yard built the protected cruiser Raleigh, the first ship 
designed and built by the Government; and in the same year, 1892, the 
Navy's first battleship, the Texas, was launched. With the celebration of the 
400th anniversary of the discovery of America in that year, Hampton Roads 
became the center of the International Columbian Naval Rendezvous. 

During the Spanish-American War, the Navy Yard's importance in- 
creased. Many ships were converted, repaired and fitted out for war service 
here, and all harbor approaches were protected by mines. At the close of 
that war the Spanish cruiser Reina Mercedes, the only vessel of any size 
saved from the wreck of Admiral Cervera's fleet at Santiago, was brought to 
the Yard, arriving on May 27, 1899, under escort of twenty-two tugs, with 
all flags flying and whistles tied down. Thousands of people lined both sides 
of the river to watch the spectacle. Two torpedoes and other ordnance were 
removed from her at that time and placed in the Yard's Trophy Park, where 
they still may be viewed as relics of that war. 

The Yard's third drydock was started in 1903, but was not completed 
until 1911. The dock was of granite and concrete, and was but one of many 
facilities which it was necessary to add at that period. In 1904, to make way 
for the new development, the "Schmoele tract," consisting of more than 
272 acres, was bought, signalizing the Yard's period of greatest growth up 
to that time. The Jamestown Exposition of 1907 attracted great attention 
to the Navy Yard, as did the sailing in the same year of the famous "White 
Squadron" on its world cruise from Hampton Roads. These two events also 
served to announce to the world that, through naval power, the United States 
had become a force to be reckoned with in world affairs. Only seven years 

(Courtesy Library and Museum Norfolk Naval Shipyard) 

BUILT IN 1893, BURNED IN 1936 

(Courtesy Library and Museum Norfolk Naval Shipyard) 





remained until World War I began — perhaps a disaster for modern civiliza- 
tion, but an event which was to bring this new American leadership into still 
greater prominence. 

Meanwhile, the industrial revolution was bringing radical alterations to 
even the habits of daily living. In Portsmouth as elsewhere the automobile 
wrought tremendous changes. In 1902 Dr. George Carr became the first local 
automobile owner with the purchase of a one-cylinder Oldsmobile, which 
was steered with a lever. Portsmouth soon had its first commercial garage, 
operated by a Mr. Harmon, who took the agency for the Overland car. 
His establishment was situated at High and Dinwiddie streets, on the site 
of the present Hotel Portsmouth. One by one, new automobiles appeared on 
the city streets, and garages replaced the livery stables of old, a number of 
which persisted until late in the course of the new trend. "Tin" garages, as 
they were called, arose in all manner of places alongside and behind the old 
English-basement homes, and gradually paved roadways took the place of 
the old shell roads. 

The automobile and the accompanying network of highway systems which 
appeared in ever greater perfection of styling and efficiency were but one 
symbol of a change that was occurring in the ways of life itself. With the 
new trend of industry and living came the rush to the city, bringing a doubling 
of population in scarcely more than a decade of Portsmouth history. In 1900 
Portsmouth was a city of 17,427 inhabitants, but by 1910 the figure had grown 
to 33,190. The gain in that ten-year period alone was 90.4 per cent. The 
period was one of general prosperity. Also, the coming of the Jamestown 
Exposition in 1907 and the attendant naval activity served to promote the 
trend. In 1909 Portsmouth had its fourth annexation, Scottsville and Prentis 
Place being taken into the city as its Sixth and Seventh wards. By 1915, 
when the population reached 38,000, the voters elected to establish the city 
manager form of government, which went into effect September 1, I916. 
At that time the former system of electing a mayor and a bicameral law- 
making body was abandoned in favor of seven elected councilmen-at-large, 
who in turn would elect one of their number as mayor and appoint an 
outside city manager. The third Virginia city to adopt the city manager 
form, Portsmouth retained it unchanged until 1938, when the city charter 
was amended by the Legislature to provide for election of a mayor at large 
and eleven councilmen by wards, but otherwise retaining the city manager 
plan as it had already functioned for twenty-two years. A subsequent move- 
ment arose for a referendum on the question of ending the ward system 
and returning to the election of councilmen-at-large, who would be reduced 
in number from eleven to seven. 

Through the second decade of this century the Navy Yard kept pace 
with the general growth trend — or, more accurately stated, led the trend and 




ijn 00 





was a major cause of it. In 1915, before the United States had yet entered 
World War I, the Yard was greatly expanded. In that year the arrival and 
internment of the Prinz Eitel Frederick and Kron Prinz Wilhelm in this port 
heralded the importance of the war to the United States. In 1917 three new 
drydocks were begun. Their construction continued throughout the period of 
United States participation in the war, completion coming only in 1920. 
New shop facilities were also added at the Yard. In February, 1919, employ- 
ment reached its peak, 11,234 persons having been on record as working 
here at that time, as compared with 2,718 in June, 1914. 

To accommodate these hundreds of Yard workers and their families, 
many of whom had come from far away, the "Cradock" and "Truxton" 
housing projects were initiated on the outskirts of the city. These newcomers 
were necessary to the repair, conversion and building of ships. Four de- 
stroyers were an early result of the Yard's effort — the Craven, launched in 
1918; and the Hulbert, Noa and William B. Preston, in 1919. A battleship 
of 43,200 tons, the North Carolina, BB52, was more than one-third finished 
when the disarmament agreements of 1923 necessitated the scrapping of this 
vessel. Between 1919 and 1922 the Yard converted the collier Jupiter into 
the Navy's first aircraft carrier, the Langley. 

At that period, after the city had strained every resource to feed and 
house the wartime influx of workers, residents and visitors, employment 
and population were again declining. From the 11,000 mark in 1919, employ- 
ment dropped to 2,538 by the end of 1923. Population, which had gone up 
to 51,000 in 1917 and 57,000 in 1918, making new housing developments 
a necessity, also reversed its trend, but not in proportion to employment. 
By the 1920 census the population figure was back to 54,387, the decrease 
being almost wholly accounted for by the falling off of Navy Yard em- 

First the Navy Yard trend set the tone, then affected many other busi- 
nesses until at length it became a general trend. Thus, somewhat before 
similar developments took place elsewhere in the nation as a whole, Ports- 
mouth had entered upon a period of economic depression. Similarly, Ports- 
mouth's position was already considerably improved before the later portion 
of the decade became years of general depression for the rest of the nation. 
Improvement came also as a result of the Navy Yard trend, pointing up a 
long-felt weakness in Tidewater Virginia economy — namely, its seemingly 
necessary dependence upon naval construction trends. Actually, no new ships 
were built in the 1920s and early 1930s; but the effects of the long naval 
holiday and economic depression were alleviated in some degree by a battle- 
ship modernization program which started in 1925. Six of the Fleet's older 
battleships were modernized at the Navy Yard — the Texas, in 1925 and 1926; 
the New York, in 1926 and 1927; the Nevada, in 1927, 1928 and 1929; the 



Arizona, in 1929, 1930 and 1931; the Mississippi, in 1931, 1932 and 1933; 
and the Idaho, between 1931 and 1934. In the spring of 1933 came a new 
reduction in employment at the Yard, as in other Government services, because 
of the depression of that time. Apprehension was widespread. 

The National Industrial Recovery Act of July, 1933, brought some relief, 
however, making possible a new naval construction program. From its 2,538 

(Courtesy Library and Museum Norfolk Naval Shipyard) 

workers in 1923— fewer than m 1914— Portsmouth's Navy Yard employment 
figure began once more to rise. By September 1, 1939, when World War II 
broke out in Europe, the steady increase had brought Navy Yard employ- 
ment to 7,625 workers. Experience in World War I and the post-war years 
had given Portsmouth a rigorous schooling in the kind of hardship to which 
the community seemed destined by geography and natural attributes, and 
everywhere the determination was now present to surmount some of the 
difficulties that had beset the city during that earlier holocaust. 

Fewer brass bands may have played to accompany the passage of United 
States soldiers through Hampton Roads, but local people who knew the prob- 
lem approached it with manifest realism. Battleship modernization had 
provided expertness in the installation of new boilers, as well as in blister, 


deck and underwater protection, placement of turret guns, improved fire 
control systems and the like, and alteration of ship superstructures to meet 
the needs of changed times and conditions. But the stagnation that followed 
had resulted in definite skill shortages in different shipbuilding trades and 
technical operations — a fact which never ceased to be felt throughout World 
War II. 

From 1938 onward the Yard was again to the fore. Rearmament was 
the mood of the day to meet first the fear, then the expectation and finally 
the fact of American entry into the conflict. By the time of Pearl Harbor, 
December 7, 1941, the Yard had already become well braced for the war 
effort, and from February, 1941, when the Atlantic Fleet was established as 
a separate naval unit, Hampton Roads became its center of operations and 
home port. 

Early in 1941 British ships of war were putting in at the Yard for 
extensive repairs, and soon afterward other Allied vessels of every flag were 
doing likewise. Often these operations alone were vast in extent. From 1940 
until the end of the war, the Yard performed work on 6,850 naval vessels, 
and built 101 new ships and landing craft, fifty-four of them combatant 
vessels. In addition, it manufactured and delivered millions of dollars' worth 
of products for forces afloat and other shore establishments. The Yard's 
productive activity in World War II reached the staggering total of more 
than $1,000,000,000. Its capacity was increased over and over again. The 
physical size of the Yard had been doubled, being extended from 352.76 
acres to 746.88 acres with nearly four and one-quarter miles of waterfront. 
A dry dock was constructed that would be large enough to accommodate the 
largest ship afloat — 1,100 feet in length. Permanent and temporary buildings 
numbering 685 were put up, and the value of the plant increased from 
$42,000,000 to nearly $136,000,000. At the period of the peak work-load, 
the Yard's manpower requirements were more than five and one-half times 
greater than they had been at the start of the war. In February, 1943, the 
payroll at the Yard had reached 42,893 persons — nearly four times the 
maximum employment during World War I. 

As in the earlier war, housing was a pressing problem. During World 
War II there were at least forty-five public and private projects to increase 
wartime housing facilities, and the final count showed that 16,487 family 
units of varying sizes had been constructed. The Yard built and launched 
thirty major vessels during the war, including nine destroyers constructed 
between 1934 and 1939. In addition, it built twenty LSTs of 3,776 tons each 
and many smaller craft. Lost during the war were several of the ships built 
here — the Doivnes, Langley, Tucker, Blue, Roivan, Fechteler, Osprey and Noa, 
as well as twenty LSTs. 

With the close of the war, the Yard went once more on a peacetime 


footing. Its activity and personnel were reduced, the lowest figure being 
reached in March, 1950, when only 9,025 persons were employed here. The 
outbreak o£ the Korean police action in June, 1950, reversed this trend once 
more, and by August, 1952, the Yard had a payroll of 16,090, which ex- 
ceeded the peak employment figure during World War I. During that three- 
year action, the Yard operated under wartime restrictions, and completed 
repairs or other work on more than 1,250 naval craft. It also built two new 
ships, the Bold and the Bulwark, non-magnetic mine-sweepers of laminated 
wood construction. The cessation of fighting reduced the work load, reducing 
the total payroll to 14,158 by December, 1953. 

In March, 1953, a new electronics building was begun. Its purpose was 
to improve the Yard's vital service to the Fleet in this rapidly developing 
field, thereby relieving the overcrowded ofiices, laboratories and shops in 
other parts of the Yard. The present Navy Yard is a far cry from the old- 
time picture of wave-tossed British ships in ofi^shore shallows or careened 
on the beach, and the sound of the caulker's mallet and carpenter's adze 
which echoed from the surrounding forest. The forest is gone. Paved streets 
and railroad track weave efficiently among the more than 400 buildings 
ranging the 750-acre area. And the building and repair of ships proceed under 
the most up-to-date conditions to serve the requirements of a technologically 
revolutionized age. Such is the transformation of historic Gosport, memorial- 
ized along with other episodes of interest in the Shipyard Museum, founded 
in 1949 for the display of relics of the Yard's participation in nine wars 
and nearly two centuries of naval history. 

If much has been said about the Navy Yard, it is said because Portsmouth 
life revolves about the Yard and is in many ways dependent upon it. In 
more recent years, however, the city has introduced a variety of industry and 
business activity. Government figures revealed that in 1952, of total moneys 
received by local citizens as income, 26.3 per cent came from government — 
a percentage greater than from any other single source. Portsmouth economists 
are currently proceeding upon the sound premise that the city's aim must be 
to increase employment in private manufacturing and industry to a degree 
at least matching government employment. It is felt that when one out of 
every five workers in Greater Portsmouth receives his pay check from the 
government (more than three-quarters of them federal employees and the 
rest state and local employees), the economic situation is not sufficiently 

To alter this situation, such bodies as the Portsmouth Industrial Com- 
mission have come into being. This Commission is composed of eleven 
outstanding citizens working with the mayor and with architects and engineers 
of repute to help industries investigate the possibilities of settling here. Its 
Industrial Engineering Survey was made available to interested groups con- 


templating the establishment of local enterprises. It further keeps itself in 
a position to make continuing surveys and analyses of local labor availability 
and housing facilities, as well as concerning legislative matters, transporta- 
tion, raw materials and other facts required by industry. The local Chamber 
of Commerce helps in these efforts, and the Commission has lent its assistance 
to many firms seeking new plant locations and brought many of them to 

A somewhat different, but related, undertaking is represented by the 
Portsmouth Industrial Foundation, which manages a constantly growing 
fund intended to help new industries establish themselves here. For this 
effort, 555 local persons subscribed amounts ranging from $10 to $25,000 
for creation of a $250,000 fund. The real assets of this fund have already 
increased to $350,000. The Foundation acquired a large acreage in Norfolk 
County, adjacent to the City of Portsmouth. It has been instrumental in 
bringing at least a dozen industrial enterprises of importance to Portsmouth, 
arranging for sale of land, ownership of buildings and issuance of first and 
second mortgages for partial financing of these companies through their 
initial periods of trial and stress. Local banks and private investors have, 
through such efforts, been spurred to advance more captial than might 
otherwise have been possible; and, in addition, great publicity has attended 
the effort and attracted attention to it and to Portsmouth. 

Some of the recent newcomers to the family of Portsmouth industries 
are outstanding industrial companies of America. Esso Standard Oil Com- 
pany, for instance, acquired 942 acres of prime industrial property along the 
waterfront here, being influenced among other factors by the presence of 
nine major railroads connected by the Belt Line Railroad, as well as by the 
helpful attitude toward industry to be found in Portsmouth. The company's 
plans included erection of an Esso refinery and resulting employment of 
from 600 to 800 people. 

The Portsmouth Coca-Cola Bottling Works, Inc., started operations in 
1953- In erecting their plant, they gave specific evidence of their faith in the 
future of Portsmouth as one of the promising retail outlets of the East. The 
plant location was chosen largely because of its ready access to the network 
of modern highways encircling the Portsmouth area, making deliveries with- 
out major traffic snarls an existing reality. 

In 1955 Prime Industries, Inc., makers of children's bicycles, of Gardner, 
Massachusetts, required a distribution point accessible to the sixteen states 
of the South. A Portsmouth Industrial Foundation tract was available for 
the purpose, providing Prime Industries with a key transportation point under 
most favorable conditions. 

Another relatively new industry is Gordon Cartons, Inc., founded in 
1944. This firm started as one of the smaller but very active ones of the 


city, but recently announced its intention of building a new $300,000 in- 
dustrial plant on a site acquired through the Portsmouth Industrial Foundation. 
Its product is paper cartons, and establishment of the new plant will result 
in stepped-up employment. A primary consideration in this instance was 
transportation by the system of United States highways which would pass 
their plant without going through congested areas. A spur line was also 
possible from the Seaboard right-of-way. 

Food products based on the peanut, so richly abundant in nearby coun- 
ties, are a natural field of activity for Portsmouth. When Best Foods, Inc., 
established in Norfolk from 1926, was looking over possible plant sites for 
its Skippy Peanut Butter Division in 1945, it chose Portsmouth for reasons 
of transportation and of the assistance offered by this city in ironing out 
difficult company problems to attract a wanted industry. 

The Star Band Company elected to settle in Portsmouth in 1948, here 
to benefit from the atmosphere of friendliness to industry, the availability of 
skilled labor and the numerous transportation routes by air, rail and highway. 
This company's "Holiday House" products, so named because the line in- 
cludes Christmas decorations and party merchandise, have been successful 
in this city — so much so that the company has twice expanded since settling 
here. Other products are foamed packaging materials, low temperature in- 
sulation, custom silk screening and custom vacuum forming. 

Since 1946 some of the other industries settling in Portsmouth have in- 
cluded O. W. Seibert Co., Inc., manufacturers of children's vehicles; Airline 
Sheet Metal; Associated Naval Architects, boat builders and designers; Fold- 
away Stairway Company, makers of folding attic stairways; Gerry Nu-Foam, 
manufacturers of foam rubber items; Southeastern Plastics, Inc.; Murro 
Chemical Company, makers of soaps and cleaning compounds; Newbill Chim- 
ney Manufacturing Company, builders of a new type of chimney; Phillips 
Petroleum Company, a leading oil distributor; Cute Undies, Inc., makers of 
children's underwear; National Biscuit Company, who opened a distribution 
plant in Portsmouth; Nestle, who announced their intention of building an 
instant coffee plant in Portsmouth; Colwood Manufacturing Company, pro- 
ducers of modern furniture; and National Cylinder Gas, suppliers of welding 
and industrial gases. 

Still other important industries here include port facilities, warehouses, 
railroad shops, machine shops, clothing manufacturers, fertilizer and fishery 
products, canned vegetables, printing, millwork, a variety of foods, army 
supplies, naval ordnance and construction, meat packing and refrigerants. 
Companies well established here, which have plants in many cities, include 
Virginia Smelting, Monsanto Chemical, Procter and Gamble, American Brake 
Shoe, Allied Mills, the Seaboard shops, Atlantic Creosoting, Dixie Veneer, 



Virginia-Carolina Chemical and Planters Manufacturing Company, Inc. (basket 
manufacturers, employing more than 400 persons). 

Newer settlers seeking the benefits of Portsmouth's industrial-mindedness 
have in many instances utilized available dwelling-places from among the 
15,000 housing units built between 1940 and 1945. Residents are pleased 

(Courtesy Norfolk Chamber of Cnynmeue) 

with facilities for fresh water, which is obtained from two fresh-water lakes. 
The water is soft, biologically wholesome and chemically pure, as is evidenced 
by its adaptability for use in storage batteries. One of the two lakes men- 
tioned actually furnishes the current supply. It contains 650,000,000 gallons. 
The other lake, which is held in reserve, has a storage of 1,600,000,000 

The railroad industry is a major one in Portsmouth. As already noted, 
this industry had its beginnings here in 1834 with the chartering of the 
Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad. Its principal promoter was Dr. William 
Collins, though many local residents were investors. The road grew over the 
years, until in 1900 it became the major link in the consolidation of numerous 
lines into the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, which continues today as one of 
the nation's outstanding systems. Portsmouth counted approximately 1,360 
employees of the Seaboard locally until removal of the company's general 
offices from Portsmouth and Norfolk to Richmond in 1958 took about 450 of 


this number off the payroll. For years the old Portsmouth and Roanoke line 
was the only rail link between Portsmouth and other communities. 

But in 1882 the Atlantic and Danville Railway was chartered, to run 
from Portsmouth to Danville. It was completed in 1890, and in 1899 was 
leased for fifty years to the Southern Railway. 

In 1889 three small railroads were united to form the Norfolk and 
Carolina Railroad, now a part of the Atlantic Coast Line. This road built 
a large yard and freight terminal at Pinner's Point. 

In 1895 the Southern Railway took over the Atlantic and Danville, and 
entered into a trackage agreement with the Atlantic Coast Line to run from 
Selma, North Carolina, to Portsmouth. It then built a large yard and freight 
terminal adjoining the Atlantic Coast Line at Pinner's Point. 

In 1898 the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad, now a part 
of the Pennsylvania system, built a yard and car float terminal at Port Norfolk 
for a water connection with the company's tracks at Cape Charles. This 
terminal was subsequently moved to Little Creek. 

Portsmouth's southward extension in recent years has resulted in the 
addition of further railroad facilities, which serve industries that are Ports- 
mouth's although they are technically outside the city limits. The Norfolk and 
Western, for example, serves the new $33,000,000 Portsmouth power station 
of the Virginia Electric and Power Company, and the Virginian Railway 
serves the big St. Julien's Creek Ammunition Depot. 

Nine railroads currently serve Portsmouth — the Pennsylvania, Norfolk 
and Western, Atlantic Coast Line, Seaboard, Atlantic and Danville, Vir- 
ginian, Southern, Norfolk and Southern, and Chesapeake and Ohio. A tenth, 
the Norfolk-Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad, connecting the others for efficient 
local service, dates back to 1896. With its operating headquarters and shops 
in Portsmouth, it provides employment for 430 persons — trainmen, yardmen, 
shop workmen and office personnel — standing next to Seaboard in railroad 
employment figures in this city. Mechanization of warehouse labor has reduced 
the number of employees of the railroad shops, but this employment con- 
tinues to be outsanding in importance here. 

Bus transportation provides further employment in Portsmouth — 150 by 
the Portsmouth Transit Company, 49 by the Community Motor Bus Company 
and 17 by the Richmond Greyhound Lines. The National Trailways System's 
service from Norfolk also passes through Portsmouth. 

The Norfolk Municipal Airport has one-hour service to Washington, D. C, 
and the New York City run takes one hour and forty minutes. National Air- 
lines, Capital and Piedmont supply regular service, not only to the cities 
mentioned, but to different parts of the South and West. Seven highway 
express lines provide overnight delivery to New York, and additional truck 
lines serve a number of metropolitan areas. Some of the better-known truck 



lines are Miller, Savage, Horton, Highway Express, Acme, McLean, Hagan, 
Turner, Adiey, Bonney, Great Eastern, Old Dominion and Sewell. 

It is estimated that between 40 and 50 per cent of the population of the 
United States lives within a 400- or 500-mile radius of Portsmouth. The 
population of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and the 
District of Columbia alone approximates 10,000,000 to 12,000,000 people. 
According to Advertising Board figures, the Hampton Roads area has a 
population of about 920,000. The Norfolk-Portsmouth metropolitan area has 

(Courtesy Library and Museum Norfolk Naval Shipyard) 

a present population estimated at 540,040, and ranks as the nation's forty- 
third largest. Opportunities are rich for markets throughout the South, as 
well as in the heavy consuming areas of the industrial East and mid-West. 
The South has, of course, for the last two decades, grown very fast as 
compared with many other parts of the country. 

Electric service is supplied by the Virginia Electric and Power Company, 
which serves much of Virginia and parts of West Virginia and North 
Carolina. This company has kept pace with the progress of the area it sup- 
plies, and has recently added substantially to its generating capacity to meet 
the needs of new industries. New facilities increase by 90 per cent its wartime 
capacity. Rates have been consistently lowered — another factor which helps 
to attract industry to the area. Several national awards have been made to 
this utility in recognition of its contributions to industry and the public. Its 
major steam power stations are situated in Norfolk, Hampton, Richmond, 

Va, 2—} 


Alexandria, Charlottesville, Chesterfield, and Possum Point in Virginia; and 
at Ronceverte, West Virginia, and Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Its 
numerous stations are interconnected by transmission systems, and it also has 
connections with power facilities of neighboring companies. 

Among its other attainments, Portsmouth shares in Hampton Roads' 
general position as the greatest seaborne coal port in America. This area is 
the natural gateway linking the Pocahontas and New River coalfields with 
the world beyond the seas, and is also a center of much coastwise shipping 
of coal, as of other products. Fuel oil is another important product, great 
quantities being regularly stored in the area by such oil companies as Amer- 
ican, Colonial, Continental, Gulf, Mexican Petroleum, Sinclair, Standard of 
New Jersey, Standard Oil of New York and Texas Oil Company. Gas is 
supplied by the Portsmouth Gas Company, with special industrial rates to 
attract quantity users. 

The outstanding industry continues, however, to be the Navy Yard, with 
its attendant activities — a fact which, though an immense source of satisfac- 
tion to local people, is not unmixed with regret that industry does not keep 
pace with this giant governmental activity. The Naval Hospital here is the 
oldest and one of the largest institutions of its kind in the United States, and 
its recent $15,000,000 building program has already greatly expanded its 
facilities. Its main building is of sufficient historical importance to have a 
Virginia historical marker in front of it. The institution's capacity for more 
than 2,000 patients makes possible the admittance of as many as 100 a day. 
In certain single months more than 300 infants have been born within its 
walls. Its purpose and function are primarily military, but its civilian em- 
ployment roll has passed the 600 mark — which classifies it as "big business" 
in Department of Commerce terminology. 

Other Portsmouth naval and marine installations include the St. Juliens 
Creek Ammunition Depot, with its 1,200 civilian employees; the Craney 
Island Naval Fuel Depot, employing 300; and the Marine Forwarding Depot, 
with 190. These employment figures do not include the uniformed personnel. 
Still another important Portsmouth activity is the Coast Guard Base, which 
came to this city when it was consolidated with the Bureau of Lighthouses, 
which had for years maintained a lighthouse depot along the Elizabeth River, 
on First Street. Prior to consolidation, the lighthouse operation was a 
civilian service. Afterward the ships' officers and crews became uniformed 
Coast Guard personnel, but the shore operations continued to be performed 
mainly by civilians. At the base, buoys and other aids to navigation are 
repaired and made ready for installation. The growth of the yard in recent 
years has resulted in its extension from South Street to the naval shipyard 
on the east side of First Street, and it has also acquired land on the west 
side of First Street for storage purposes. Such employment designations as 



"buoy mechanic" after names in the Portsmouth directory are explainable 
by the activities at the Coast Guard Base. 

Portsmouth's civic construction program also has involved the building of 
new municipal and school structures. In 1948, with general community 
backing, the City Council imposed a 10 per cent tax on all utility bills, 
income from which was to be earmarked for school improvement. One posi- 
tive result was the new $2,500,000 I. C. Norcum High School. Another new 

(Courtesy Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce) 

educational institution was the John Tyler Elementary School, financed out 
of annexation expenditures rather than utility bill taxes. 

A recent development has been Portsmouth's own sewage disposal plant, 
built when the city withdrew from the Hampton Roads Sanitation District 
organization. Financed for a thirty-year period, this plant will no doubt pay 
for itself before the expiration of that time, being self-sustaining as to current 

In the early 1950s the city became dissatisfied with its former police 
headquarters, and built one of the most up-to-date police stations in the 
state. The new building is a trim, neat office building, bearing little re- 
semblance to the typical police station of tradition. With complete modern 
facilities for identification, teletype communication, photography and the like. 


it has a prisoner entrance which does away with the conventional system of 
stopping the police patrol on the street and marching the prisoners inside. 
Instead, the patrol wagon is driven into a special section at the rear of the 
building, and is not unlocked until the outside door of the building is locked. 
This arrangement reduces prisoner embarrassment, eliminates curiosity seekers 
and avoids any possibility of escape. 

The Fire Department also has a new headquarters and an additional re- 
gional fire station. The Health Department likewise boasts a new building, 
and plans are under way for a new Public Library. The Water Department 
is, of course, the city's special pride and joy. It was created at a cost of 
$12,000,000, although the replacement value is set at $20,000,000. It was 
acquired January 2, 1919, from a private company for approximately $3,000,- 
000, and currently has a debt of $8,000 in serial bonds and $600,000 in 
short-term notes. Over a month's time this department pumps an average of 
14,000,000 gallons of water daily to serve 27,000 customers. Income from 
Water Department operations is channeled into the general municipal fund. 
The budget is currently around $400,000. 

The city itself employs 731 persons aside from its teachers, who number 
488, serving 13,474 children. Twenty-four playgrounds are maintained. There 
are three golf courses, a city park, three country clubs and a 10,000-capacity 
stadium which is one of the finest in Virginia. Night football and baseball 
are made possible by existence of the stadium. The city has professional 
baseball, its team belonging to the Piedmont League. Boating, fishing, swim- 
ming and all types of sports are available nearby. 

Four banking institutions meet the needs of the community — the Amer- 
ican National, the Bank of Virginia, the Citizens Trust Company and the 
Merchants and Farmers Bank. The Portsmouth Star, now merged with Nor- 
folk Newspapers, Inc., appears daily and Sunday. Two hospitals, in addition 
to the Naval Hospital, round out the city's health facilities. The city is 
accessible by numerous highways, both federal and state, including Federal 
Routes 17, 58 and 460 and State Routes 10, 502 and 503, as well as by 
rail, water and air. Formerly a five-minute ferry ride connected the city with 
Norfolk, although since May 23, 1952, the main connection between the two 
cities is by the Norfolk-Portsmouth Bridge-Tunnel, constructed by the Eliza- 
beth River Tunnel Commission at a cost of $23,000,000. The bridge por- 
tion was opened to traffic on April 27, 1952, and the two-lane tunnel on 
May 23, that year. The tunnel is the tenth trench type tunnel in the United 
States and the eleventh in the world, and is illuminated with a continuous 
band of fluorescent lights from portal to portal. The bridge is a scenic 
four-lane steel, reinforced concrete structure with a bascule span, having a 
horizontal clearance of 150 feet and vertical clearance of fifty feet. 

A city which deserves high praise for its effort to keep pace with the 


great naval installations which are its hub and center of activity, Portsmouth 
still is known throughout the United States and the wide world for its Navy 
Yard* and great Naval Hospital. As one high-ranking uniformed officer of 
the Yard is quoted concerning the great Yard's activities, — 

"The employees here have an attitude that is different from that in other 
yards. They have a fine esprit de corps. They have strong family links with 
the yard. I know of no other in which you will find numerous instances of 
father, son and grandson all being civilian employees of the Yard. " 

The hof2 Worker, published by the Lynchburg Foundry Company, features 
a Virginia topic in each issue. This publication, treating Portsmouth, com- 
mented : 

"The far-reaching influence of industry on many American cities during 
the unprecedented industrial expansion of the past half century has been 
marked. But it is doubtful that any industry has played so important a role 
for so long a period of time in the life of an American city as that of the 
United States Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth, Virginia. 

"Although known officially as the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the plant is 
peculiarly Portsmouth. The city has grown up with it and about it until now 
it encircles the Yard physically. But the relationship is something more than 
physical. For longer than a century and a half, Portsmouth has provided 
workmen for the Yard as son followed father and grandson followed grand- 
father into the maritime trades there. The Yard's first commandant under 
Federal operation was a Portsmouth naval hero. A Portsmouth naval con- 
structor drew the designs from which the Yard built the ironclad Merrimac 
before it went into battle with the Monitor. Every night a naval shipyard 
gun sends its roar across the city to mark the hour of 9 o'clock. 

"The shipyard has a history unrivaled by any other industrial operation 
in the country, but its place is not one of history but rather modern industrial 

"Japan and Germany felt the power of that might in World War II, when 
the Yard built 101 ships and repaired, overhauled, converted or otherwise 
worked on 6,850 vessels. Wages paid by it in that period exceeded a half 
billion dollars. The number of employees at one time exceeded 42,000. 
And that is big business whether it is governmental or private operation." 

Appended below are the names of Portsmouth men who paid the supreme 
sacrifice in World War II in defense of their country and furtherance of its 
cause, and to whom the people of City, State and Nation owe so much: 

Adalman, Melvin, Pvt., M. iVIother, Mrs. Jean Foreman 
Akin, Arthur C, Jr., 2nd Lt., A. Mother, Mrs. Ocie F. Akin 
Alden, F. B., Cpl., M. Wife, Mrs. F. B. Alden 

* The official designation "Norfolk Naval Shipyard" is no slight to Portsmouth, but simply 
intended to distinguish it from a similar activity in Portsmouth, N. H. 


Alden, Hartley W., Cpl., M. Wife, Mrs. Hartley W. Alden 
Ambuehl, Caryl Nicholas, Pfc, M. Wife, Mrs. Rita M. L. Ambuehl 
Anderson, Lindsay L., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Ruth Anderson 
Anderson, William James, Cox., N. Wife, Mrs. Frances Juanita Anderson 
Andrews, Jerrard Howard, CMM, N. Wife, Mrs. Girlie Madalyne Andrews 
Applewhite, William W., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Lizzie L. Applewhite 
Ashe, Andrew L., Jr., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Ruth M. Ashe 
Baines, Edward Roy, Sgt., A. Wife, Ellis C. Baines 

Baker, Willard Read, S2c, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Fenton McCoy Baker 
Baras, Emanuel, Pfc, A. Father, Herman L. Baras 

Barleon, Richard L., Lt., N. Mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Old Barleon, Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts 
Bennett, Herman J., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Alpha J. Bennett 
Blanks, James A., Jr., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Margaret C. Blanks 
BOGGS, David Perrin, Sr., Cpl., A. Wife, Mrs. Sarah Boggs 
Booth, Linwood E., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Vera K. Booth 
Booth, William Lewis, CFC, N. Wife, Mrs. Catherine Virginia Booth 
BooTHE, James Henry, Jr., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Josephine Stokes Boothe, 
Washington, D. C. 

(Also Norfolk City) 
Boyd, Joseph T., T/Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Hazel Hope Boyd 
Brann, Dennis Warren, Sic, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Henry Brann 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Brinkley, James E., Sic, N. Wife, Mrs. James E. Brinkley 
Brittingham, Otis B. {See Accomack County) 

Brooks, Vernon A., Jr., 1st Lt., A. Wife, Mrs. Vernon A. Brooks, Jr. 
Brown, John Winston, Pfc Mrs. Louise Brown 

Brownley, Harry Ayres, Jr., Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Minnie V. Brownley 
Bundick, Ralph William, Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Charlotte Keith Vaughan 
Bundick, R. F. D. 1 

(Also Accomack County and Norfolk County) 
Burch, Melvin Jerome, Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Ethel Virginia Brinkley Burch 
Burney, Duncan L., Jr., Cpl., A. Sister, Miss Alma Lee Burney 
Byers, Robert E., Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Hilda Byers 
Campbell, William G., Lt., A. Father, Charles W. Campbell 
Cave, Winston. (See Petersburg City) 

Christian, James Edward, Jr., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Ellen Mason Christian 
Cox, James B., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Lillie A. Cox 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Cox, Russell Mills, Jr., Lt.(jg), N. Mother, Mrs. Miriam D. Cox 
Cross, James Corin, SoM2c, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Latimer Cross 
Cross, James M., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. E. T. Cross 


Crossley, Vernon N., SM3c, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. N. B. Crossley, 

R. F. D. 2 
Culpepper, Edward Wray, S2c, N. Wife, Mrs. Marcelle Begor Culpepper 
Curling, Heywood Warren, Jr. (See Norfolk City) 
Darden, William H., Capt., A. Mother, Mrs. Lillian L. Darden 
Davis, Henry Joseph, S2c, N. Father, Benjamin Davis 
Davis, Leonard F., T/Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Minnie B. Davis 
Deans, Julian R., Flc, N. Father, Charlie Jackson Deans 
Deer, James Montague, Boatswain, N. Wife, Mrs. Helen Rebecca Deer 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Dent, George Albert, Officer's Steward 3c, N. Wife, Mrs. Earle Syllian 

Dozier, Arnold L., Pvt., A. Sister, Mrs. Edith D. Brimson 
Dunford, Galvin H., Pfc, A. Brother, Gordon D. Dunford 
Dunn, J. Lewis, Cpl., A. Mother, Mrs. Effie M. Dunn 
English, William, AMMlc, N. Mother, Mrs. Gertrude Drew Williams 
Etheridge, Willard E., 1st Lt., A. Father, Joseph H. Etheridge 
EuRE, Everett James, EM3c, N. Father, William J. Eure 
Faust, Kyle Howard, CMM, N. Wife, Mrs. Fancy Lucille Faust 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Featherston, John Henry, Jr. (See Charlottesville City) 
FiTCHETTE, Frederick E., Jr., T/5, A. Mother, Mrs. F. E. Fitchette, Sr. 
Fitzgerald, William R., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Ebbie E. Fitzgerald 
Floum, Edward, T/5, A. Brother, Walter Floum 
Forney, William A., 2nd Lt., A. Wife, Mrs. Margaret W. Forney 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Gallup, Billy L., Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Josephine J. Gallup 

(Also Norfolk County and Norfolk City) 
Gardner, James P. Pvt., M. Father, Paul Gardner 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Gatling, Herbert M., Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Nell M. Gatling 
Gearhart, William R., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Eva C. Gearhart 
Gillerlain, Ervin E., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Ellen M. Gillerlain 
Gilliam, John Douglas, Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Dorothy Mae Gilliam 
Gorman, Nicholas R., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Catherine H. Gorman 
Grant, Charles Carl, CCS, N. Wife, Mrs. Naomi Elizabeth Grant 
Gray, James Preston, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Maggie L. Gray 
Griffith, Harold D., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Edna Griffith 
Hall, George L., S/Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Rosie E. Hall 
Harless, Ralph, Pfc, M. Guardian, Mrs. Guy C. Edwards 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Harris, Howard F., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Harriet C. Harris 


Harrison, William Henry, S/Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Hattie Harrison 
Hayden, Vernon B., Capt., A. Mother, Mrs. J. F. Hayden 
HiGHTowER, Mack W., Pvt., A. Brother, Ernest W. Hightower 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Hill, Bartley Taylor, A0M3c, N. Father, Orin Howard Hill 
HiNTON, James Robert, Jr., OCk3c, N. Wife, Mrs. Lilia Rachel Hinton 
Hladilek, Charles Andrew, ARMlc, N. Wife, Mrs. Rosemary Hladilek 
Hodges, Thomas A., Ill, Lt., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. A. Hodges 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Hopkins, William M., T/5, A. Mother, Mrs. Ida R. Hopkins 
Horne, Earl F., Lt.(jg), N. Wife, Mrs. Betty Virginia Brown Home 
Howell, Frank Myers, Ylc, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Monroe 

Hudgins, Henry C, Capt., A. Wife, Mrs. Elizabeth N. Hudgins 
Hunter, Frank Patterson, Col., A. Wife, Mrs. Maria Long Hunter, 

Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina 
Hunter, Victor Irvin. (See Norfolk City) 
HUTCHINS, Robert, Machinist, N. Mother, Mrs. J. M. Overton 
ISBEL, Page H., T/5, A. Mother, Mrs. Manor Isbel McGean 

(Also Lynchburg City) 
Janicki, Teddy Eugene, SF3c, N. Wife, Mrs. Stella Janicki 
Jenkins, William Franklin, Sic, N. Mother, Mrs. Anna Bell White 
Jennings, Raymond, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Lucy Jennings 
Jernigan, James H., Jr., S/Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Jernigan 
Johnson, Folke Leon, 1st Lt., A. Wife, Mrs. Dorothy Marian McFall 
Johnson, Tampa, Florida 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Jones, Alfred Alexander, Lt.(jg), N. Wife, Mrs. Alice Barham Jones 

(Also Roanoke City) 
Jones, Arthur W., Pfc, A. Lillie M. Jones 
Jones, John Paul, Jr. (See Danville City) 

Kanach, Charles Edward, CMM, N. Wife, Mrs. Sadie Virginia Kanach 
Kane, Stephen P., Sgt., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Kane 

(Also Norfolk County) 
KiMMEL, William Arthur, WTlc, N. Wife, Mrs. Beverly A. Kimmel 
King, Sidney F., Pfc, A. Father, Roland E. King 

Kjorness, Charles Morris, Sic, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Kjorness 
Kreger, Lynwood Davis, SKlc, N. Wife, Mrs. Clara Shuman Kreger 
Larkin, Herbert S., Capt., A. Mother, Mrs. Annie E. Larkin 
Lassiter, Arthur Elzey, S2c, N. Mother, Mrs. Harrison Lassiter 
Lassiter, Ernest C, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Penelope Lassiter 


Lassiter, Grayson Blackwell, PhM3c, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. John 

Robert Lassiter, Sr. 
Laster, Clarence E., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Jessie Laster, R. F. D. 3 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Likens, Lewis H., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Virginia C. Likens 
Linton, Johnny W., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Willie V. Linton 

(Also Alleghany County and Norfolk County) 
LoYD, Vernon E., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Mary Helen McCumberlin Loyd 
Lyons, Roland C, Jr., S/Sgt., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Roland C. Lyons 

(Also Norfolk County) 
McCain, Edwin Arthur, T/5, A. Mother, Mrs. Bessie McCain 
McCarty, George T., S/Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Carrie McCarty 
McCoRMiCK, Landon C, Jr., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Kate McCormick 
McEachern, Herndon W., Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Marguerite McEachern 
Mabine, Octavius, Mess, N. Mother, Mrs. Essie Ora Mabine, R. F. 

D. 2 
Malone, Thomas Francis, Lt., N. Wife, Mrs. Barbara M. Malone 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Manganaan, Eduardo, OCCk, N. Wife, Mrs. Betty Manganaan 
Marsh, Clayton C, Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Clayton C. Marsh 
Mason, Claire E., Pfc, A. Father, Lee A. Mason 
Matthews, Fred D., Cpl., A. Mother, Mrs. EUie R. Matthews 
Matthews, Harry Elmo. (See Norfolk County) 

Mayberry, Vernon S., Jr., MMlc, N. Wife, Mrs. Dorothy Parker Mayberry 
Metz, Kameron Burton, Lt.(jg), N. Wife, Mrs. Mildred Annie Metz 
Michael, Clifford M., S/Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Gay Michael 
Miller, James Marshall, CWT, N. Wife, Mrs. Lavetta Bell Miller 
MixoN, William Benjamin, 1st Lt., A. Wife, Mrs. Cleo Walker Mixon 
MiZELL, H. H., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Mattie H. Mizell 
Moody, Willie W., S/Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. May Moody, R. F. D. 1 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Morris, John A., Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. John A. Morris 
Moynihan, Charles C, Pfc, A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice S. Moynihan 
Murphy, George Edward. (See Accomack County) 

Musgrove, Vernie Eligia, SF2c, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Hiram 

(Also Norfolk County) 
MUSTAD, Lewis, CSM, N. Wife, Mrs. Georgia Mustad 
Nash, Charles Francis, Lt., RCAF. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Monroe Nash 
Neblett, Robert W., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Estelle Neblett 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Nee, Bartholomew W., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Margaret Nee 


Nespoli, Nicholas Vincent, Sic, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Panteloe 

Newsome, Albert Kenneth, CMM, N. Brother, Thomas Wesley Newsome 
Nicholas, Eugene Ross, Flc, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Walter 

(Also Richmond City) 
Nixon, William, 2nd Lt, A. 
Odom, James E., S/Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Margaret B. Odom 

(Also Norfolk County) 
O'Neal, Charles Bertram, CMM, N. Wife, Mrs. Maxine Lee O'Neal 
Overton, Robert Hutchins, Warrant Officer Machinist, N. Wife, Mrs. 

Florence Tinsley Overton 
Palmer, Thomas Rotton, CWT, N. Wife, Mrs. Vivienne Schofield Palmer 
Parker, Wade C, Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Barbara C. Parker 
Paugh, Raymond Henry, CEM, N. Wife, Mrs. Ruth Vivian Paugh 
Pendleton, John L., Jr., Sgt., A. Friend, Mrs. Ruth Carthright 
Perkins, William Earl, S/Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Bessie Creamer Perkins 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Pierce, Louis Lee, FClc, N. Wife, Mrs. June Pierce 
Pittman, Thomas F., S/Sgt., A. 

Powell, Martinus, Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Mable Powell 
Price, Isaiah, Jr., Mess Att.2c, N. Father, Price, Sr. 
Raber, Warren Howard. (See Norfolk City) 

Randall, Andrew James, Pay Clerk, N. Wife, Mrs. Viola Felton Randall 
Rawlings, Howard Frederick. (See Norfolk City) 
Reid, Stalie C, 1st Lt., A. 
Riddick, Thomas L., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Lillian Riddick, R. F. D. 2 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Ross, Garland Presson, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Annie M. Ross 
Royals, William Nicholas, Flc, N. Mother, Mrs. Mary Ann Royals, 
R. F. D. 3 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Santillan, Emeterio, est, N. Wife, Mrs. Alida Pagan Santillan 
Schloegel, John J., Gunnery Sgt., M. Wife, Mrs. John J. Schloegel 
Sebrell, Virginius, Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Beatrice C. Sebrell 
Shaner, Vernon Carlyle, Lt., N. Wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas Shaner 

(Also Lynchburg City) 
Shaw, Morris Admiral, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Nannie Shaw 
Sherrill, Homer, CTM, N. Wife, Mrs. Nancy Elizabeth Sherrill 
Simpson, Merlin Larence, CEM, N. Wife, Mrs. Jeanille Simpson 
Sims, James B., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Stella G. Sims 


Smith, Elmer J. Pfc, A. Uncle, Sherman Bailey 

(Also Roanoke County) 
Smith, Jesse Raymond, Jr., MMlc, N. Mother, Mrs. Gertrude M. Smith 
Smith, Lewis Wates, 1st Lt., A. Wife, Mrs. Mary Lynn Travis Smith, 

Martin, Tennessee 
Smith, Milton Fred, ACRM, N. Wife, Mrs. Mary Jane Smith 
Snyder, John W., Jr., T/Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Frances C. Snyder 
Springer, Randolph E., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Katherine V. Springer 
Stevens, James Edward, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Estelle Wilson Stevens 
Stevens, Leroy Warren, StM3c, N. Father, Leroy Stevens 
Story, Argus Winfield, Jr., AOM3c, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Argus 

Winfield Story, Sr. 
Strickland, Robert D., Cpl., A. Mother, Mrs. Elizabeth V. Strickland 

(Also Norfolk County) 
SuPERNOis, Donald Ward, CMM, N. Wife, Mrs. Ida Gertrude Supernois 
Sword, Dean W., Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Rachael Sword 
Taylor, Douglas, BM2c. Mother, Mrs. Homer Page 
Taylor, George Linwood, Cpl., A. Mother, Mrs. Zelma D. Taylor 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Temple, Thomas Costello, BM2c, C. Mother, Mrs. Martha McBride 

Thompson, James Franklin, 2nd Lt., A. Mother, Mrs. Eddie Sue Thomp- 
son, R. F. D. 1 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Thompson, Sidney K., 2nd Lt., A. Mother, Mrs. Sallie G. Thompson 
Thompson, Walter Andrew, CGM, N. Wife, Mrs. Lucille Thompson 
Toomer, James Hodges, III, Lt., A. Mother, Mrs. Kathrene Kennedy Toomer 
Treakle, Harold W., Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Anna W. Treakle 

(Also Norfolk County) 
ViNiNG, Gordon G., Lt., N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard E. Vining 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Vredenburg, Ivan H., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Effie Vredenburg, R. F. D. 3 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Walker, David, Mess Att.3c, N. Mother, Mrs. Edna Lee Ward 
Warren, Manley P., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Helen P. Warren 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Weschler, Charles John, Lt., N. Wife, Mrs. Mary Allen Weschler 
Whitehurst, James S., Jr., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Ruth M. Whitehurst, 
R. F. D. 1 

(Also Norfolk County) 
WiLKiNS, Raymond H., Maj., A. Mother, Mrs. Virgil J. Vallier, Columbia, 
North Carolina 


Williams, Julian G., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Mattie S. Williams 
Williams, Lewis J., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Addie T. Williams 
Williams, Oscar Lee, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Blanche Williams 
Williams, Wilbur Slade, Officer's Steward 3c, N. Wife, Mrs. Mildred 

Frances Williams 
Williams, William Jackson, Jr., Ens., N. Father, William J. Williams, Sr. 
Williamson, John, Jr., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Barbara Williamson 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Willis, James H., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Oscar M. Willis, R. F. D. 2 

(Also Norfolk County) 
Winchester, John Edwin, AMM2c, N. Wife, Mrs. Gloria Marks Win- 
chester, San Diego, California 
Wolfe, Donald Paul, Flc, N. Father, Arnold Wolfe 
Woolford, Thomas Ralph. (See Norfolk City) 
Wyatt, Linwood Arthur, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. William H. Wyatt 
Wynn, James Wesley, Lt(jg), N. Wife, Mrs. Rosa Perkins Wynn 
Yarbrough, Raymond L., 2nd Lt., A. Father, Fred C. Yarbrough 

(Also Norfolk County) 

References on Chapter XVIII 

Publ/ of ihe Virginia War History Commission, Second Series, Vol. VII Virginia Communities 
in Wartime, edited by Arthur Kyle Davis, published by order of The Executive Committee, State 
Capitol, Richmond, Va., 1927, pp. 202-243. 

Norfolk. November, 1955, official publication of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, Norfolk, Va. 

Portsmouth. Virginia, folder of Tidewater Virginia Development Council, Norfolk, Va. 

Portsmouth, Virginia, publication of Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, Portsmouth, Va. 

Norfolk Naval Shipyard, a Brief History, by Marshall W. Butt, Librarian, Public Information Office, 
Portsmouth, Va., April, 1951. Revised December, 1953. 

"Norfolk Naval Shipyard," article in Buships Journal, August, 1953. 

Portsmouth, Virginia, Bicentennial, 1752-1952, booklet, Portsmouth Bicentennial, Inc., Portsmouth, Va. 

Chapter XIX 

The Town and City of South Norfolk 

SOUTH NORFOLK is Lower Tidewater's youngest major municipality. 
It is situated on the east side of the Southern Branch of Elizabeth 
River (which is its western boundary), has a common boundary on 
the north with the Berkley and Campostella sections of Norfolk City, and 
is bounded on the east and south by Washington District of Norfolk County 
of which it once was a part. Its southern limit was originally Jones's Creek 
at the Virginian Railway's bridge over Southern Branch, but was in 1950 
extended to include the village of Portlock and the Money Point industrial 
area, and eastward to reach Indian River. ^ 

The general area from which South Norfolk was carved — south of Eastern 
Branch and east of Southern Branch — was successively a part of New Norfolk 
County (1636), of Lower Norfolk County (1637), and of Norfolk County 
(1691). As such its early history has been given in chapters under those 
headings. Suffice it to say here that this area was settled a little later than the 
Seawell's Point or Lambert's Point sections, but by 1639 was sufficiently 
populous to be set up as the short-lived Southern Shore Parish, one of the 
three into which Lower Norfolk was then divided; soon after 1643 it fell into 
Elizabeth River Parish. The Southern Branch chapel of ease of the latter 
parish was built in 1661 on a site between Scuffletown Creek and Jones's 
Creek near what is now Barnes Road within South Norfolk city limits. 
Upon the division of Elizabeth River Parish in 1761, the area in question 
became a part of Saint Bride's Parish, whose first vestry was: 

William Smith/ ^, 

T , r, ,, ,, Churchwardens 

John Portlock ^ 

Henry Herbert James Webb 

Thomas Nash, Jr.* Robert Tucker, Jr. 

James Wilson Samuel Happer 

Joshua Corprew Malachi Wilson 

John Wilson William Happer^ 

* Grandson of him who had been clerk of Southern Branch Chapel in 1728. 



Throughout the colonial period and two-thirds of the way through the 
nineteenth century, this area continued to follow the agricultural pattern of 
the other rural sections of these parts, with emphasis gradually turning 
toward truck farming, as was also the case in neighboring Princess Anne. 
It was not until after the war was over in 1865, and the rail service was 

(Courtesy "Norfolk Virginian-Pilot") 

resumed in 1866 and "outside influences" were removed by 1870, that the 
real industrial potentialities of this section began to be realized. In 1890 the 
populous area to the north was incorporated as the town of Berkley; about 
the turn of the century handsome homes were built here by the following 
gentlemen, some of whom had been active in Berkley's development: William 
Tilley, Thomas Woodard, J. P. Andre Mottu, E. M. Tilley and William 
Sloan. The citizens of this area saw Berkley annexed by the City of Norfolk 
in 1906, and with that city's further expansion toward the north in the next 
few years, it became clear to them that they must soon choose between 
eventual annexation and municipal independence. It was this spirit of in- 
dependence which caused them to decide for the latter course, and that same 
spirit of independence — handed on to their present successors — is still re- 
sponsible for the individuality and progressive energy of the community.^ 


Municipal status did not come until 1919, however, and in that year the 
Town of South Norfolk was incorporated. It was unusual in that it never 
had unincorporated status as a town, a step that most Virginia municipalities 
go through in their ascent of this ladder. It was also unusual in that it did 
not wait but three years before moving up to the next step: in 1922 South 
Norfolk became a city of the second class, a provision of the new Virginia 
Constitution of 1902. A city of the second class is of under 10,000 population 
and, like a town, has its own administration but is judicially under the juris- 
diction of the County Court — in this case, the Circuit Court of Norfolk 
County. In 1950, upon the extension of limits to the east and south as previ- 
ously noted, South Norfolk acquired sufficient population to become a city 
of the first class. At that time it was also independent of Norfolk County 

(Courtesy "Norfolk Virginian-Pilot" ) 

and got its own Corporation Court; the first judge was the late Q. C. Davis, 
Jr., long prominent in the city's affairs, who was succeeded by the present 
incumbent Judge Jerry G. Bray, Jr., former Commonwealth's Attorney. Here 
the function of Civil and Police Courts are joined under the gavel of Justice 
Herman White. South Norfolk was originally governed under the mayor- 
council type of government, but is now under a council-manager form of 
administration with the usual departments: Public Safety, Public Health, 
Public Welfare, Public Works and Finance, plus Planning Commission and 
Recreation Department, and Public Schools — the latter, as usual, under a 
State-appointed Superintendent.'' 

The city has an up-to-date public school system which is composed of 
the Oscar Frommel Smith High School, the George Washington Carver High 
and Elementary School, the South Norfolk Junior High School and five 
elementary schools. The principal denominations are represented here: active 
in the city's religious life are the South Norfolk Congregational Christian 
Church, the South Norfolk Baptist Church, the South Side Baptist Church, 
the Chesapeake Avenue Methodist Church and the South Norfolk Presby- 

Va. 2—4 


terian Church. South Norfolk is geographically in Saint Bride's Protestant 
Episcopal Parish and in Saint Matthew's Roman Catholic Parish; the mother 
churches of these parishes are located in Berkley. As of 1957, there were 
three attorneys and a dozen physicians practising here. The Merchants' and 
Planters' Bank of Berkley established a branch in South Norfolk; as noted 
elsewhere in these pages, this bank was recently absorbed by the National 
Bank of Commerce of Norfolk. 

South Norfolk is well served by highways and railroads. Two principal 
north-south links between Norfolk and North Carolina — U.S. 460 and Va. 
170 — pass through the city. It is physically connected with Portsmouth by the 
Jordan Bridge, a toll facility operated by the South Norfolk Bridge Com- 
mission. The military or defense highway — U.S. 13 — crosses the Southern 
Branch by a bridge at the southern city limit, the only toll-free route out of 
Norfolk to the west. Three of the four railroads serving South Norfolk 
maintain bridges over the Branch, the exception being the Norfolk and 
Southern which runs due south; the Norfolk & Western bridge parallels the 
military highway span, the Virginian's bridge is a little lower, and Belt Line 
bridge is below the Jordan bridge, entering Portsmouth just south of the 
U. S. Naval Shipyard. The Norfolk & Southern maintains its shops at 
Carolina Junction in South Norfolk, where its line joins and crosses the 
Virginian. The Norfolk & Western also has its Portlock Yard in the city 
limits right next to the U. S. Government Storage Yard; and the Norfolk 
& Portsmouth Belt Line crosses and joins all the other lines with each other 
and with the other six trunk lines that serve the port of Hampton Roads. 
The South Norfolk Airport — a few miles south in the County — has facilities 
for private planes, charter service and pilot instruction. 

South Norfolk's economic life blood is found chiefly in the heavy in- 
dustry on its waterfront. In fact we venture to say that there is more heavy 
industry of the petroleum and fertilizer variety, plus some others, concen- 
trated in this slightly over three miles of waterfront than in any comparable 
space in the area. A glance at a city planning commission map will suffice 
to show how true this is; reading from north to south on the Southern 
Branch, within South Norfolk city limits, are the following: James River 
Oil Co., Gulf Refining Co., Lone Star Cement Co., F. S. Royster Guano Co., 
J. C. Wilson Corp. (steel doors), Atlantic Coast Lumber Co., Reliance 
Fertilizer & Lime Co., Mexican Petroleum Corp., E. H. Barnes Lumber Co., 
American Agricultural Chemical Co., the Texas Co., Republic Creosoting 
Co., ReiUy Tar & Chemical Co., Farmers' Guano Co. and Farmers' Cotton 
Oil Co., Robertson Chemical Corp., Norfolk Creosoting Co., M. Block 
(salvage), C. W. Priddy Co. (fertilizer), Swift & Co. (plant food division), 
Norfolk Tallow Co., International Agricultural Corp., Armour Fertilizer 
Works, Chilean Nitrate Corp., Southern States Norfolk Service (fertilizer), 



Smith-Douglass Co.° (fertilizer). Of all the above named, only the last is 
outside the city limits. There are other names which should be added to this 
list, and which do not show on the map mentioned: Nichols Fertilizer 
Corp., J. J. Joyce, Weaver Fertilizer Co., Cooperative Fertilizer Service, etc. 
There is also the Virginia Navigation Coal Co., which occupies a large site 

(Courtesy Norfolk Chamber of Commerce) 


adjacent to the N. & W.'s Portlock Yard. Most of the fertilizer plants were 
originally concentrated in the area formed by a bend in the Southern Branch 
and called Money Point; this is where the Royster, Priddy and Swift plants 
are today. This place is said traditionally to have gotten its name from old 
tales of buried pirate treasure somewhere in the vicinity; whatever the origin 
of the name, it must be admitted that it is not inappropriate today in view of 
the valuable cargoes that are processed and shipped from its wharves. 

With all this array of heavy industry, there is nothing of the grimy 
"factory town" about this progressive city. Its many miles of well-paved, tree- 
lined streets and the trimmed lawns and flowering shrubs surrounding its 
residences bear witness to the civic pride of its citizens. In addition there 
are several recreational areas which lend beauty to the city: Johnson Memo- 
rial Park in the heart of South Norfolk, Cascade Park with its athletic 
facilities, and Lakeside Park, so named for the artificial lake formed by 


damming the head of Scuffletown Creek. This creek is now known as South 
Norfolk Basin and is a convenient stop on the Intracoastal Waterway be- 
tween New York and Florida, which follows the Southern Branch to reach 
the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal. The population of South Norfolk 
was estimated in 1957 at well over 22,000." 

Notes on Chapter XIX 
N.B. See remark at beginning of notes on Chapter I. 

1. Map of Norfolk County, Virginia Department of Highways, 1 January 1950; Norfolk City 
Planning Commission map, January, 1951. 

2. Vide supra. Chapters IX, X and XI, passim, 

3. Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 26 June 1940. 

4. Loc. cit.: see also current directories (1957). 

5. Norfolk City Planning Commission map, January. 1951. 

6. Loc. cil.; see also Norfolk \^irginiaii-Pitot. loc. cit. and 8 Februan>- 1959. 

Chapter XX 

The County of Princess Anne 

By Katharine Fontaine Syer* 

AT THE END of Chapter X,.we told of the division of Lower Norfolk 
/% County into two new counties in April, 1691. And at the beginning of 
J % Chapter XI we went into some detail as to the boundary between the 
two new counties of Norfolk and Princess Anne, before proceeding with the 
story of Norfolk County. The present chapter is concerned with an account of 
the separate existence of Princess Anne County from 1691; without belaboring 
the point too much, it should be pointed out again that the Act of 1691 mis- 
takenly left a small triangle of Lynnhaven Parish (roughly defined by these 
three apices: the mouth of Broad Creek, the head of the Eastern Branch of 
Elizabeth River and the present Norfolk City Water Works) in the bounds 
of Norfolk County. An Act of April, 1695 (as pointed out in Chapter XI) 
rectified this discrepancy, and made Princess Anne County, coterminous with 
Lynnhaven Parish; so that the line between the two counties as finally estab- 
lished was approximately the same as that laid out when the two parishes were 
established in 1639, two years after Lower Norfolk County was founded. 

The dividing act of 1691 provided for a Court to be held in Princess Anne 
County on the second Wednesday of each month, and it is recorded that the 
following gentlemen composed the first Court held: Malachi Thruston, Wil- 
liam Cornick, Benoni Burroughs, John Sandford, ArgoU Thorowgood, John 
Thorowgood, Francis Morse, Evan Jones and Henry Woodhouse. And here are 
the names of some of those who held the important post of County Clerk in 
the early days of the County: Patrick Angus (1691-1700), Christopher Cocke 
(1700-1716), Charles Sayer II (1716-1740), Arthur Sayer (1740-1761) and 
Edward Hack Moseley, Jr. (1771-1814). 

Princess Anne County was named for Anne, daughter of James II. In 1691, 
when Princess Anne County was formed, James had been deposed three years. 
The horrors of his reign were past and Mary, his eldest daughter, had been 
invited with her husband, William of Orange, to rule England. The time of 
tyranny was temporarily over, for William and Mary ruled well and England 
became a constitutional monarchy. Queen Mary was much loved, for she was 
a virtuous Queen. Her excellent example was soon followed by other women, 

* See Foreword. 


who began to turn from frivolity and idleness to more serious things. William 
was an advocate of full religious freedom, and beginning in the reign of 
William and Mary the people of England enjoyed an increasing measure of 
religious liberty and toleration. 

Since the death of Queen Elizabeth periods of political and religious 
persecution had sent waves of Englishmen across the ocean to the New World. 
After the Duke of Monmouth failed in his attempt to take the throne from 
James II, Judge Jeffreys set out to punish all who had rebelled against the 
king. The fear of this Bloody Reign of Terror continued to fill ships from 
England. Princess Anne County was settled by many such refugees. They 
brought with them English manners, customs and traditions. To these founda- 
tions were added new ideas of economic and personal freedom which were 
to be the basis of government in the future United States of America. 

The map of Princess Anne County today shows a continuous shore line of 
sandy beach on the north and east, with inlets or harbors at Little Creek, 
Lynnhaven River and Rudee Inlet. This was not always so. This sandy shore 
line has changed perceptibly in the last century and there are records of 
previous changes, some created by devastating storms and some man-made. 

We have reason to believe that Lake Bradford and Lake Joyce were once 
part of a continuous waterway from Little Creek to Lynnhaven. For a time 
during the seventeenth century Lynnhaven River is said to have been land- 
locked at the present inlet. It is thought, as detailed in a previous chapter, that 
this inlet was the result of a canal cut by fishermen, who were seeking a more 
direct route from their homes to their fishing grounds. About four miles south 
of Cape Henry there is evidence of another old inlet. The highway stands in 
water here after heavy rains and the substrata on the beach indicates a river 
bed. One source writes concerning an old map found in the Library of 

On the ocean side, midway between Cape Henry and Rudee, was marked 
Stratton's Creek. This map shows a continuous water route from Chesapeake 
Bay into Lynnhaven River, out Long Creek into Broad Bay (Battses Bay), into 
Linkhorn (Lincolne) Bay to Little Neck Creek, or perhaps Crystal Lake, to 
the ocean. That whole northeast corner of the Cape Henry Desert was com- 
pletely cut off from the rest of the county . . . This map is dated 1695.^ 

A little further south at Dam Neck the sand is very thin and there is no doubt 
but that Brinson's Pond, now called Lake Tecumseh, was another inlet and 
harbor. Further south still the Back Bay is separated from the ocean by a 
very narrow strip of sand, through which the ocean has broken many times. 
It is a shame that the early settlers had to be so completely occupied with 
the business of survival that they did not keep diaries and write long letters 
to each other. The truth of the matter is that only a relative few could read 


or write or sign their names, so we depend for most of our information 
about them upon Court records of their wills, land transfers, civil litigation 
as well as their illegal activities. The Colonial Vestry Book of Lynnhaven 
Parish (1723-1786) is a valuable record of their life and times. 

These records are remarkably adequate in regard to the history of the 
people who settled around Lynnhaven River, but are sadly lacking as a record 
of those of Pungo and Back Bay. What we do know indicates very early 
English habitation around Pungo, perhaps made possible by long lost harbors. 
It is to be hoped that with increasing interest in historical research new in- 
formation will turn up. 

The land to which people belong always helps to form their character and 
to influence their history. The waterways of Princess Anne County gave 
protection from the sea, provided transportation and fed directly — and in- 
directly — many of her families. The good fertile land runs in ridges, with 
creeks or swamps between. These ridges run mostly from north to south. The 
best known is Pungo Ridge which starts in the northernmost part of the 
county at the mouth of Lynnhaven River and runs high and wide and fertile 
the length of the county in the Pungo section. Other ridge names are found 
in the earliest records, such as Poplar, Black Walnut, Chincapin, Long, 
Templemans, Possum, Beech, Brushby, Bullock's, Eastern, Cow Quarter, 
Porters, & Rattlesnake Ridges." These ridges were ideal for farming. The 
subsoil was clay, suitable for bricks and the forests were full of trees. It was 
a land of plenty for those who could work hard and use its resources. 

The first colonists being dependent upon water for transportation, the 
sheltered Lynnhaven was ideal for the first settlement. The first facilities for 
government and church were built at the entrance to Lynnhaven River on the 
western shore. This was property of Adam Thorowgood and was referred to 
by him as Lynnhaven. A half-century later we find evidence of a new civic 
center. There is a court order dated September 17, 1689, for the construction 
of a frame court house to be built on the Eastern Shore of the Lynnhaven 
River. Early deeds and court orders show this was a substantial settlement, 
called Eastern Shore Settlement, located near "the great branch" or north 
fork of Wolfsnare Creek, which was then good navigable water. This is 
north of present-day London Bridge. The settlement flourished before 1691 
when the county was part of Lower Norfolk County and was the county seat 
for Princess Anne County when it was formed in 1691, leaving the other 
part of Lower Norfolk County called Norfolk County. 

The third civic center developed shortly after this, for the Lynnhaven 
Parish Church at Church Point, on Adam Thorowgood's property was aban- 
doned about 1692 and a new brick church was "required to be finished by 
the end of June 1692," at a new location. 

This new settlement has had many names. In the nineteenth century 


"Donation Farm" and "Dickson's" were used for the first time. "Witcii 
Duck" is a much older name, and this was acquired when the Court met here 
and dispensed justice, which included the ducking of witches. Before this a 
ferry operated from this west side of Lynnhaven to the east side and the 
name Ferry Farm was used. 

When the early settlers came to America from England during the seven- 
teenth century, the persecution of witches was at its height in the western 
world. Witchcraft was a cult which was known as the "Old Religion" and 
the Christian Church was determined to wipe it from the face of the earth. 
Witches were usually old women. They sold themselves soul and body to 
Satan, and he conferred on them the power to turn themselves into cats or 
hares, to ride through the air on broomsticks and torture or otherwise punish 
their enemies. When a woman suspected of witchcraft was subjected to trial 
by water she "was stripped naked and cross bound, the right thumb to the 
left toe, and the left thumb to the right toe," and cast into a river or some 
other deep water, where it was believed she would not sink if guilty. 

The last trial for witchcraft in England was that of Jane Wenham. She 
was charged with talking to the devil and was condemned to death at Hert- 
ford in 1712, but was not executed. The last execution in Scotland took place 
in 1722. The last execution in Europe was at Posen, Germany in 1793. In 
the American colonies the last execution was in New England (Salem) in 
1692. However, as late as 1768, John Wesley wrote: 

The English in general, and indeed most of the men of learning in 
Europe, have given up all accounts of witches as mere "old wives fables." 
I am sorry for it, and I willingly take this opportunity of entering my solemn 
protest against this violent compliment which so many that believe the Bible 
pay to those who do not believe it.^ 

The numerous trials revolving around witchcraft that took place in Lynn- 
haven Parish in late seventeenth and early eighteenth century were chiefly 
suits for slander arising from accusations of witchcraft; for, as early as 1655 
the Lower Norfolk Court passed down a ruling that "Any one making 
charge against a person for witchcraft not proving same is liable to a fine of 
1000 pounds of tobacco and further censure of the court." One of the first 
actions resulting from the above order was that in 1659, when Thomas Godby 
was fined "three hundred pounds of tobacco and caske" because his wife Ann 
had called Mrs. Robinson a witch and hurt her good name.* 

At a Lower Norfolk County Court held the 15th of January 1678/9, John 
Samon complained against Alice, the M'ife of Thomas Cartrite, because of the 
death of his child whom Alice was believed to have bewitched. The next day 
a Jury of women, with Mrs. Mary Chichester, forewoman, reported they had 
"delegently Searched the body of the sd Alice [and] Cann fine noe Suspitious 
marks whereby they Can Judg her to bee a witch." Alice was acquitted.® 


Ten years later in 1698, John Byrd and Anne, his wife sued Charles 
Kinsey "in an action of Defamation setting forth that the said Kinsey had 
falsely and Scandalously Defamed them. Saying that the said Anne did ride 
him from his house to Elizabeth Russells, and that by such his Discourse she 
was Reported and rendered to be a witch." They asked £100 damages with 
costs. The jury headed by Hugh Campbell, foreman, found for the de- 
fendant. John and Ann Byrd on the same day sued John Pitts who, they said, 
had defamed them by saying, "they had rid him along the Seaside & home 
to his own house." The Byrds lost this suit also, the jury finding for the 
defendant.* The story of Grace Sherwood, the alleged (but not proven) 
witch of Princess Anne, is a combination of fact and fantasy. John White, 
her father, who was a carpenter and small landowner, lived near Pungo. 
His only daughter Grace married James Sherwood and they had three sons, 
John, James and Richard. The connection between Whites and Sherwood went 
back at least to 1680: in October of that year John White made a deed of gift 
to James Sherwood for fifty acres on Basnett's Creek in Lynnhaven Parish, 
probably his daughter's dower. Less than a year later (May, 1681) White 
died and left all his land — which was probably not much — to his son-in-law 
and also made Sherwood his sole executor. It is of passing interest that 
James and Grace sold a small part of her dowry to Captain Plomer Bray in 
1690; it will be recalled that he was one of the witnesses to Nicholas Wise's 
deed for the Norfolk town land in 1682. The Sherwoods lived in peace and 
raised their family for eighteen years, if we may judge by the records; then 
their troubles began. In February 1697/8, a suit for defamation against 
Richard Capps was amicably settled and dismissed. But on 10 September 
1698, the Sherwoods were plaintiffs in two suits for slander, one against 
John and Jane Gisburne, and the other against Anthony and Elizabeth Barnes. 
The Gisburnes had simply accused Grace of "bewitching their cotton," but 
the Barneses had cooked up a really fantastic tale: "The said Elizabeth did 
say the said Grace came to her one night and rid her and went out of the 
keyhole or crack of the door like a Black Catt." The same jury sat in both 
cases; they were Francis Sayer, foreman, Christopher Cocke, Otho Russell, 
Mark Powell, Thomas Walker, George Warrington, Robert Renney, Robert 
Richmond, John Keeling, Thomas Hall, Henry Spratt, and Adam Hayes. 
The Sherwoods lost both these suits, and James was obliged to pay six wit- 
nesses for four days against Gisburne (Martha Ward, Susanna Williams, 
John Lewis and wife, and Thomas Williams and wife Elizabeth) and three 
against Barnes (Owen MacGravy, Edward Barker and John James) .* 

* (Editor's Note) One thing about all these witchcraft trials stands out: We know so much 
about the activities of the Thorowgoods, Walkes, Moseleys, Cornicks, Keelings, Lawsons, Wishards, 
Woodhouses and Kempes, that it is interesting to learn something about the doings and the names 
of plainer folk of whom we know so little. 


Grace Sherwood's greatest trouble came from one Luke Hill and his wife, 
who persecuted her unmercifully over a period of about nine months. First, 
because of some obscure grievance — real or imagined — Mistress Hill illegally 
invaded and trespassed upon the Sherwood property, and "assaulted, bruised, 
maimed and barbarously beat" Mistress Grace. On 7 December 1705, the latter 
brought suit against the Hills for £50 damage; she won the suit, but was 
awarded only 20 shillings (one fiftieth) and costs; Mark Powell was foreman 
of the jury in this instance: he had been a member of the jury which sat in 
the Barnes and Gisburne cases seven years earlier. The Hills were not de- 
terred by such a weak reprimand, and in the following February (1705/6) 
made formal complaint and accusation in Court against Grace Sherwood on 
suspicion of witchcraft. A full hearing was held on 7 March with the follow- 
ing Justices present: Lt. Adam Thorowgood (III), Major Henry Spratt (II), 
Capt. Horatio Woodhouse, Mr. John Cornick, Capt. Henry Chapman, Mr. 
William Smith, Mr. John Robinson, Capt. George Hancock. The minutes of 
this Court noted that Grace Sherwood had long been suspected of witch- 
craft, and accordingly a Jury of women was summoned to search her because 
of this suspicion, to which she consented. The findings of this Jury indicated 
that their search resulted in finding on the body of Grace certain marks and 
spots which, in accordance with the popular belief of that day, indicated her 
guilt. The Jury was composed of Elizabeth Barnes forewoman, Sarah Norris, 
Hannah Dennis, Mary Burgess, Winifred Davis, Ann Bridges, Mary Cotle, 
Mary Watkins, Sarah Goodacres, Ursula Henley and Ezable [Isabel!] Waples. 
An alert defense attorney would today certainly have challenged Mistress 
Barnes on the grounds of prejudice; it will be recalled she and her husband 
had been involved in previous litigation with the Sherwoods. 

Having obtained a positive verdict from the jury, the court in Princess Anne 
County still would not pass judgment on Grace, so in March, 1706, the 
determined Luke Hill carried his suit to the Attorney General at Williams- 
burg. Again he was disappointed, for this higher court refused to declare 
Grace a witch and sent the case back to Princess Anne County. Grace remained 
silent before her accusers. "It was held against her that she would not make 
any, or a little excuse to the charges." 

After further examinations and hearings in May and June, 1706, in which 
Queen's Attorney Col. Maximilian Boush took part, the jury of women was 
summoned again, but refused to serve and its members were cited for con- 
tempt. At the same time the sheriff, under orders, searched the Sherwood 
house for images or objects of a suspicious or superstitious nature. The mem- 
bers of the County Court seem to have been genuinely anxious to bring the 
case to a conclusion one way or the other, and on Friday, 5 July 1706, it was 
decided — in the absence of a jury — to try the acaised in the water by ducking 
(by her own consent), but on that day the weather was rainy and otherwise 


inclement. So the trial was postponed until the following Wednesday for 
fear of possible danger to the victim's health!!! On Wednesday 10 July, 
accordingly, the "trial by water" took place, and the order was given that 
Grace should be ducked at a point on the river near John Harper's plantation. 
This is the place known today as Witch Duck, on the Lynnhaven River near 
Old Donation Church and Ferry Farm. People flocked to the river's edge 
from all parts of the county. The news of this trial had spread through all 
the Colony. One account of the ducking says the fields and woods along the 
river were black with people. Whole families came by wagon, cart and on 
horseback, by ferry and private boats. 

In the "trial by water," there was small comfort to the accused; should 
the person ducked drown she would die innocent of the charge of witchcraft. 
If she used her wits and kept afloat until she could free herself, she was 
judged guilty of being a witch. Ironically, the Sheriff was enjoined to have 
"care of her life to preserve her from drowning." It was further ordered 
that she be searched before the trial to prevent her taking anything to aid 
her, and again searched afterwards for suspicious marks. 

Grace was tied up in the customary manner "thumb of right hand to big 
toe of left foot and thumb of left hand to big toe of right foot." In this 
position she was thrown into the placid Lynnhaven River. Grace was able 
to keep afloat and the river judged her a witch. Apparently a complete report 
of the proceedings was not read into the Court records until September 
(1706). At that time it was recorded that she had "consented to be tried 
in water and searched again, which experience being tried and she swimming 
when therein and bound contrary to custom [!!!!] and in the judgment of 
all spectators and afterwards searched by five ancient women who have all 
declared on oath that she is not like them nor noe other women that they 
knew . . ." She was returned to the prison at the Court House near the Brick 
Church. It seems witchcraft was going out of style in Princess Anne for after 
a few years she was set free. 

Nearly nine years after her first trial, on the I6th day of June, 1714, 
Grace Sherwood received a grant from Governor Alexander Spotswood "for 
one hundred & fourty four acres of land, " for which she paid two pounds 
of tobacco for each acre.^ Grace lived in Princess Anne County upon her 
land between Pungo and Back Bay for thirty-four years after her witchcraft 
trial without any further record of trouble. She died in September of 1740, 
leaving her "one hundred & fourty four acres of land" and all she possessed 
to her son John, "excepting five Shillings to son James and five Shillings to 
son Richard." Since Grace was married by 1680, we may assume she was at 
least 40 at the time of the trial and past 70 when she died. 

Much has been written and said about Grace Sherwood that is fanciful, 
even fantastic. For instance: 


The memory of Grace Sherwood has been well preserved. Each generation 
has repeated the quaint folk stories which have gathered about her name, the 
most famous being that she sailed to England in an eggshell and returned with 
a sprig of rosemary and from that bit of the herb all rosemary bushes growing 
in Princess Anne County have come. 

— W. H. T. Squires 


At Blossom Hill, Princess Anne County, the name given to the perennial 
blue lupine is "Witch Flower." No flowers were to be found blooming on the 
hill until Grace Sherwood, "witch of Princess Anne County," went to England 
in an egg shell and carried back a seed of the "Witch Flower." She left the 
county shortly after sunset and she returned with the seed sometime during 
the night, planting it just before the sun rose. 

— Margaret J. Bratton 

Blossom Hill was settled about the same time that Grace Sherwood was tried 
and found guilty of witchcraft. 
Another teller-of-tales^" writes: 

She asked the Sherrif, when she was waiting to be hanged, if he would 
like to see something which he would never see again. She then sent a boy to 
a tavern to fetch two pewter plates which had never been washed. The boy, 
disregarding her instructions, dipped the plates into a rain barrel and after 
wiping them carefully took them to Grace. She banged them over his head 
and told him to go get two more and not to dip them in the rain barrel. 
When she received the new plates she asked that the rope be removed from 
her neck. Then she clapped a plate under each arm and flew straight over the 
heads of the crowd to her home. 

In 1695 the Court had been moved from the Eastern Shore Settlement on 
the eastern shore of Lynnhaven to the section referred to as "Ferry Farm," 
which is near the present Old Donation Church. In the above-mentioned year 
there is a court order for a new Princess Anne County Court House to be 
erected "upon the land belonging to the Brick Church."'" The timbers of the 
earlier court house on Eastern Shore were shipped over to the new site." 

We learn that in 1695 an attempt to establish a town was started by 
Argoll Thorowgood, the eldest grandson of Captain Adam Thorowgood. 
This was called "Lynnhaven Town" and some authorities think it was near 
Lake Joyce and Baylake Pines. However, there is a small map or plat of sixty 
acres in the Virginia State Library which is described as the outer bounds 
of Lynnhaven Town. This plat was drawn because of a dispute about the lands 
of John Richardson and Thomas Brinson on the north side of Princess Street 
and John Moseley and William Moseley on the other side of the same street, 
and Attwood's tracts at the extreme southwest corner of the survey. The plat 


shows Princess Street crossed by King Street and Queen Street. The Lynn- 
haven River makes the complete northern boundary of this plat of sixty acres. 
This drawing is dated the 18th of October, 1760.^^ There are several refer- 
ences to the fact that the town had been laid off near the mouth of Lynnhaven 
River. Where can both of these requirements be met? Could it be that 
"Lynnhaven Town" was laid out by Argall Thorowgood in 1695 near "Ferry 
Farm" and the new "brick" church which had been finished in 1692, and 
the new Princess Anne Courthouse which was ordered to be erected in 1695.'' 
As there are few references to "Lynnhaven Town" in the old records, 
it is probable that the development was not very successful. One source states 
that in a very short time all the lots were owned by one or two persons. 
James Tenant owned a number of these for in his will made in 1771, he 
says "All my land at the Bayside, called Lynnhaven Town."'-" This section 
is called "Bayside" today. Among the origin lot owners were Adam and 
Robert Thorowgood, William and John Moseley, Ebenezer Taylor, Peter Mal- 
bone and William Heslett of Norfolk Town, Adam Keeling, Jacob Johnson, 
William Cornick, Francis Morse and Edward Attwood. 

In Chapter V we told of the pirate ship La Paix and the fate of its crew 
when it was grounded and captured at Lynnhaven. After the conviction of the 
three pirates — Houghling, Franc and Delaunee — they were sentenced to be 
hanged and, in accordance with an ancient custom, the sentence was to be 
executed on or near the spot where the crimes were committed. Accordingly 
the following warrant of execution was issued: 

You are to cause three Gibbetts to be Erected in Your County of Ceedar 
or other lasting wood, one at ye Cape One where John Hoogling was taken 
and one near the place where the Pyrates first ingaged his Majesties Shipp the 
Shoram which you may easily find out by inquiry in which Gibbets You are 
to cause the Severall Pyrates herewith sent to be hanged up vizt ffrancois 
Delaunee at the Cape Cornelius ffrank at the place where the Pyrates shipp 
first engaged his Majesties shipp the Shoram and John Hoogling at the place 
where he was taken. You must leave 'em hanging in a good strong Chaine or 
Rope til they rott and fall away. All and every of these directions you are to 
observe and for so doing this shall be your warrant Given under my hand and 
Seal this 17th day of May, 1700. 

Knowing La Paix was grounded at Lynnhaven, it is safe to assume Hough- 
ling's gibbet was at or near Lynnhaven Inlet, and Franc's between Lynnhaven 
and Cape Henry (this letter is only a guess) ; Delaunee, it is clear, was 
hanged at Cape Henry. 

This was signed by the Sheriff of Elizabeth City County, acting upon 
authority delegated by Justice Hill of the Court of Admiralty. Within a few 
days, Houghling, Franc and Delaunee escaped and managed to get across 
the Bay to Accomack, where they were again taken. The inhabitants of 


Accomack who aided in the capture of the pirates were rewarded for their 
efforts. The three men were returned to Princess Anne where they paid the 
penalty for their crime, being hanged in chains.'^ 

While Alexander Spotswood was Governor of the colony, he began to 
think about the land west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Virginia claimed 
this land, but no settlers had gone there to live. There were two dangers 
from this direction: the French were interested in taking the land, and there 
was always the threat of Indian trouble. The Governor decided to cross the 
mountains and explore them himself. This was in 1716. The Governor met 
some of his friends at Germanna on the Rapidan River, a mining set- 
tlement just above Fredericksburg. There were nearly fifty men and more 
than seventy horses in the party. It was at Germanna that they shod their 
horses. These Tidewater gentlemen rode their mounts on sand and clay roads 
and had had no need for iron shoes until they started up the rock moun- 
tains.^* Two gentlemen from Princess Anne County went on this expedition: 
they were Captain Anthony Walke of Fairfield, near Kempsville, and Col. 
Edward Moseley of RoUeston.'^ The first Walke who came to Virginia was 
named Thomas Walke. He came from the Barbadoes in 1662." He married 
Mary Lawson, daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Lawson. After his 
death in 1694, his executors purchased the estate which came to be known as 
Fairfield for his son, Anthony Walke. Anthony, being a very rich young 
man was able to build an establishment which was described not long ago 
as follows: 

Mr. John L Herrick, one of Kempsville's oldest citizens, just shortly before 
his passing, told us of "Fairfield," the almost baronial establishment of the 
Anthony Walkes, of the hugeness of the parlor, of the coat-of-arms over the 
handcarved mantelpiece in the dining room.^'^ 

Fairfield was unfortunately destroyed by fire a century or so ago. It was 
described in another place with somewhat exaggerated enthusiasm as follows: 

The handsomest house ever erected in early days around the Lynnhaven 
was Fairfield. It was an extensive landed estate, distinguished for its retinue 
of liveried black servants, and the hospitality and splendor of its entertain- 
ments. It had the appearance of a village, from the number of ships and 
houses of different descriptions which were near it. These were occupied by 
blacksmiths, wagon-makers, saddlers, and mechanics of all trades imported 
from England, who taught the negroes, who practiced the trades.'^ 

This Anthony Walke served his county both on the County Court and on 
the Parish Vestry. It was natural that he should have been chosen by 
Governor Spotswood for the western trip. 

The story of the Moseleys has been related in a previous chapter. Each 
generation of Moseleys took their place in the government and church and 


Colonel Edward Moseley, who was an officer in the County Militia, was a 
man of the same pattern. After he inherited "RoUeston" he married a 
widow, Mrs. Bartholomew Taylor, from Northampton County on the Eastern 
Shore. He was Justice of Princess Anne County, Sheriff and a member of the 
County Court that tried Grace Sherwood.^® 

Walke and Moseley were, therefore, members of Spotswood's westward 
expedition. The gay assemblage took along slaves to prepare camp and wait 
on them. They had guides and friendly Indians to show them the way. Each 
camp was named for one of the governor's friends. Eight days after they left 
Germanna they reached the top of the Blue Ridge at Swift Run Gap. After 
a long hard climb they saw before them the beautiful green meadows of the 
Shenandoah Valley. They saw the mountain the Indians called "Massanutten" 
and far to the west the Allegheny Mountains. A diary of one of the members 
of the party reads in part: 

6th Sept. We crossed the river, which we called Euphrates [Shenandoah 
River}. We drank some healths on the other side, and returned. We had a 
good dinner and after it we got the men together, and loaded all their arms, 
and we drank the King's health in Champagne, and fired a volley, and all the 
rest of the Royal Family in claret, and a volley. We drank the Governor's 
health and fired another volley. We had several sorts of liquors, viz., Virginia 
red wine and white wine, Irish usquebaugh,'* brandy, shrub, two sorts of rum, 
champagne, canary, sherry, punch, water, cider, etc.^" 

After this experience it is difficult to understand how the good gentlemen 
stayed on their horses, or kept from becoming lost altogether! 

Captain Walke and Colonel Moseley must have had a lot to tell when 
they returned to Princess Anne County after their adventures with the Gov- 
ernor and his company. In memory of the trip Governor Spotswood presented 
to each of his companions as a souvenir a golden horseshoe set with jewels; 
they thus came to be called the Tramontane Order or the Knights of the 
Golden Horseshoe. The horseshoes bore the motto, "Sic juvat transcendere 
montes," or "Thus it is a pleasure to cross the mountains." One of these 
golden horseshoes was exhibited in the New World Building at the recent 
Jamestown Festival. 

Tobacco was the main crop of this section as long as the land was fertile 
enough to grow this demanding plant. There were many families who made 
their living from the sea, fishing and crabbing. The lower or southern part of 
the county supplied great quantities of pitch, tar and turpentine for the ship- 
building industries of Norfolk. Another interesting business developed in 
the county was the growing of flax on a commercial scale by the Murray 

* From Old Irish uisce bethad ("water of life"), whence our word "whiskey." Cf. Fr. eau de 
vie and Sw. aquavit. (Ed. note). 


On the western side of the county near the Norfolk County line about 
1650, David Murray settled. His land was on the eastern branch of the 
Elizabeth River, and it was here that the great-grandson of David Murray, 
named Richard Murray, lived and operated the flax business. Early deeds 
refer to the flax pond on the Murray property. Flax was grown by the 
planters for their personal use, and household linen was woven on large 
plantations, but the Murrays' business was on a commercial scale. 

The processing of flax includes growing in rich soil with weed-free cul- 
tivation, cutting of the plants, soaking in water until the fiber can be separated 
with a hackle, then drying the fiber and finally spinning it into thread. 
Flax by-products such as flaxseed and linseed oil were valuable exports also. 

Richard Murray's manor house has continued its usefulness since 1738 
when he built it, until the present day. Since 1903 it has been owned by the 
Shumadine family. The interesting outbuildings still remain and the root- 
and smoke-houses and the flax-drying house are unchanged. The kitchen house 
has been adapted by Mr. W. F. Shumadine into a bottling plant for his dairy. 

Richard Murray built houses similar to his own for three of his sons. These 
four gambrel-roof brick houses grouped together bear witness to the industry 
of the Murrays who worked the flax pond long ago. These houses are visible 
from the Military Highway at the intersection of Indian River Road, and 
three of them are in excellent condition and still useful.-^ 

An early shipyard was built on the branch of Elizabeth River, called 
Broad Creek. Here Thurmer Hoggard [1} had such a concern before the 
Revolutionary War. The beautiful Georgian house called "Poplar Hall" was 
his residence, probably built in 1761 or 1762. There was a primitive water- 
color of Poplar Hall done during the Revolution. It shows the ship- 
building ways with the old dock plainly visible, the saw pit where logs were 
sawed for shipbuilding, and "Poplar Hall" in the background. In the creek 
in front of the house is a British Navy barge with six "Redcoats" on it, and 
another craft of some kind bearing a fisherman or vegetable man with a 
basket of his wares on his head. 

The name Hoggard is said to be of Welsh origin and was spelled 
Hogyrd. In the early 18th Century, Nathaniel Hoggard married a Miss 
Thurmer and including their son Thurmer Hoggard [I] there have been 
seven Thurmer Hoggards in Princess Anne, though not in a direct line. 

Thurmer Hoggard [I] acquired his land by purchase, just before the 
Revolution. He was a ship's carpenter by trade and used this knowledge in 
developing his shipyard on his own acres. His success is attested today by 
his magnificent estate. His daughter Mary was wife of Charles Sayer [II], 
County Clerk from 1716 to 1740; Arthur Sayer succeeded his father in that 
office, 1740 to 1761.-^ 

In the early part of the eighteenth century, when the Court and the 


Church were located on the western branch of the Lynnhaven, we find the 
vestry of the church attended to many matters which we consider the re- 
sponsibihty of government. These vestrymen supervised the relief and support 
of orphans, the aged and the poor. They levied on each taxable person a sum 
to be paid in tobacco to support the church, the glebe and the poorhouse. 
This was called a tithe and represented a tenth part of the yearly increase 
arising from the profits of land, stock, or personal industry, paid in tobacco 
to the church for religious or charitable uses. 

The geographical divisions of the county are shown in the following order 
from the vestry book of Lynnhaven Parish for 20 November 1723. 

It is this day agreed & concluded that the Several vestry men and persons 
hereafter named Collect and receive & they are hereby Impowered to Collect 
& receive on each Tythable person within their Several presincts in this parish 
the Sum of thirty & three quarter pounds of Tobacco & make payment thereof 
according to the direction of the above Leavy — Persons appointed to Collect 
the Said Leavy are Capt: Anthony Walke in the Eastern branch and Knots 
Island; Capt: Henry Chapman in Little Creek; Capt: Francis Land in the 
western Shore, Mr: will: EUegood in the Lower presinct of the Eastern Shore; 
mr's: John Bonney's Senior & Junior or either of them in the upper presinct 
Eastern Shore; mr: willoughby Merchant in black water for this & the Last 
years Leavy's.^^ 

The Glebe land of the Church was just across the western branch of the 
Lynnhaven on the peninsula we call Little Neck. According to the old English 
law, every church was entitled to a house and glebe. The establishment of 
these was a prerequisite to the consecration of the church. This land was 
for the use of the parson and the church and in Princess Anne County was 
centrally located for the residents of Lynnhaven River, being between its 
Eastern and Western Branches. It was also accessible to the people of the 
Pungo and Knotts Island section, who did not travel by boat but came over- 
land. The present road down the neck follows a very old one and twists and 
turns all the way from Lynnhaven Village to Keeling's Point. The end of 
the Revolutionary War saw the disestablishment of the Church of England 
and the confiscation of its properties. The new State government took them 
over and many of the duties that the vestry had handled now fell to the 
government of the State. At Sea Breeze Farm, the home of the Hills, near 
the end of Little Neck there are still some very old trees. No doubt they 
mark the site of the minister's home, which was last described as "an old 
dwelling house and a few outhouses, all in bad repair."^* 

In January of 1738, a Colonel Brown was waiting in Hampton for the 
arrival of a ship which had left England in August. On board were his four 
children, as well as five hundred Swiss settlers bound for the Virginia Colony. 
This ship load of colonists was one of the largest to come over for many 

Va. 2—5 


years."* Colonel Brown must have spent some horrible days and sleepless 
nights for the Virginia Gazette, published in Williamsburg on January 12, 
1738, reports on her fate as follows: 

At last, we have an Account of their Arrival: with the following melan- 
cholly Circumstances, which we gather from Two Letters sent hither from 
Princess Anne County, and Hampton, and from some current Reports; That 
the said Ship arriv'd within the Capes of Chesapeak-Bay, on Wednesday the 
3rd Instant, and came to Anchor in Lynnhaven-Bay; that the Wind blew very 
hard that Afternoon and Night at North West, which tis suppos's drove her 
from her Anchor, and she was the next Morning discover'd stranded on the 
Shore in the said Bay, with water in her to her Upper Decks. Two thirds of 
the People were destroyed by the Wet and Cold and fifty of them were 
drowned between Decks . . . there are not above sixty alive; and those in so 
low a Condition, that its much doubted, whether some of them will recover. 
Among this Number is a Daughter of Colonel Brown's, (A Gentleman of 
Fortune, the Chief of this new Colony, who happened to take his Passage 
another Way, and arriv'd here about a Month ago; ) this young Gentlewoman 
it seems was Speechless, and her Life in great Danger; Three other of his 
children who came in the Ship are like to do well. 

When the Ship came within the Capes, the Wind was so fair, that if they 
had kept sail, instead of anchoring at Lynnhaven-Bay, they might have been 
safe at Hampton in about two Hours; but the People being almost famish'd 
having nothing to eat for several Days, insisted on the Captains coming to 
Anchor there, and going ashore to get Provisions. Accordingly the Captain 
and some of the Passengers went ashore, but it being an Island, and no House 
upon it, they walk'd about a long Time in vain. 

The above reference to Lynnhaven Bay means what is today called Lynnhaven 
Roads, the water just outside or north of Lynnhaven Inlet, the present 
mouth of Lynnhaven River. The present designation Lynnhaven Bay, seen on 
modern maps, marks the wide estuary of the river and its Western Branch, 
which is not — strictly speaking — correct. 

Quite near by was the well-developed community which had been growing 
on both sides of Lynnhaven River for over a hundred years. It is hard to 
conceive of such a situation today, when communication is a matter of harness- 
ing invisible air waves. Those who survived the sea and reached the shore 
could find no shelter and about seventy of these were frozen to death on the 
beach and in the marshes, as they searched for houses and human aid. The 
survivors were cared for by the people who lived close by, who found them 
the next morning. Their saviors were probably named Keeling, Thorowgood, 
Cornick and Woodhouse, for the houses of these families are still standing 
within a few miles of where this ship lost its passengers and treasure. 

The island referred to above reached from Stratton's Creek (Crystal Lake), 
which emptied into the Atlantic Ocean in those days, to Linkhorn Bay to 


Broad Bay to Long Creek to Lynnhaven River and made an uninhabited 
sand island. 

Tliis island many years ago was a sand bar, but today it is a part of the 
mainland with Cape Henry jutting out into the ocean from its northeast 
corner. This cape has been marked with a lighthouse since 1791, when the 
first Congress of the United States ordered building of the lighthouse which 
is still standing. It was replaced with an iron lighthouse in 1881, which is 
used today. 

For several miles around the lighthouses is Fort Story, a sub-installation 
of the Transportation Training Command, which has its headquarters at 
Fort Eustis near Williamsburg. This covers 1,394 acres of the old island. 

The area adjacent to Cape Henry, and extending inland toward Broad 
Bay to the west and south, is a place of great scenic and natural beauty. It 
has been known for many years — and is still known — as "the Desert," a term 
which may be misleading to the uninformed; for the word as here used 
simply means that it is unsettled or uninhabited, and in no way implies a 
barren waste land. As a matter of fact, this is one of the most naturally 
fertile spots on our shore or coast. This is where, among the sand dunes, the 
first English arrivals in 1607 saw springs of fresh water, tall pines and 
cedars. Here still today may be seen the sand hills, the tall trees, the fresh 
springs, as well as live oak, wax myrtle, wild blackberries, huckleberries and 
grapes, persimmon and sassafras, and many other growing things. 

One of the earliest recorded references to this locality was in the form 
of a petition addressed in 1770 to the Governor and Council of State by 
certain inhabitants of Princess Anne County and others. In this document, 
reference was made to a certain "point of land called Cape Henry, bounded 
on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the north by Chesapeake Bay, and on 
the west and south by part of Lynnhaven River and Long Creek . . . chiefly 
Desart Banks of Sand unfit for Tillage or Cultivation." The area was said 
to encompass several thousand acres. It was pointed out that, for "many 
years past" (prior to 1770), the common fishing ground of the inhabitants 
of the County had been on the shore of the ocean and bay west of the mouth 
of Lynnhaven River; that the fishermen usually camped in the sand hills and 
obtained wood for fuel from the Desert, a thing which greatly contributed to 
the support of the petitioners and their families. The petitioners noted with 
alarm that several gentlemen had applied for patents of this land, and 
especially a certain Mr. Keeling* had surveyed a part of it near the mouth 
of Long Creek. A protest was registered that such patents would be of great 
injury to the fishery. In view of all the above circumstances, the petitioners 
requested that no patents be granted in this area and "that the Land remain 

* This was Adam Keeling who died in 1771, the third by this name, son of Thomas Keeling 
(II) ; it will be recalled their homeplace, "Dudlies," was near the mouth of Long Creek. 


a Common for Benetit of the Inhabitants of the Colony m General for 
Fisheries and other public uses. " Apparently the intervention of the Revolu- 
tionary War put an end to any further consideration of the matter at that 
time. It is to be noted that the map of 1781 (referred to several times in 
Chapter X) shows the legend "Desart Sands" to the southwest of Cape 

Apparently the wishes of those early petitioners were respected; at any 
rate the fact remains that most of this area still remains public land today. 
Through the cooperation between the National Park Service and the Virginia 
Conservation Commission 3400 acres of it were developed and, on 15 June 
1936, opened as the Virginia Seashore State Park. Woodland trails were cut 
through to give access to its beauty spots, cabins for vacationists were built 
in the woods and bathing facilities were provided on the beaches. The public 
is at present, unfortunately, being denied access to this scenic wonder, because 
of pending matters involved in the problems of segregation. 

Ecologically, the Park is a transition zone. The variety of plant life is 
large, consequently. It is a giant test tube of sand and water in which the 
creation of Prehistoric times seems to occur before your own eyes. Geodetically, 
it is important in measuring the recession of our shoreline and the rise and 
fall of the ocean. Hemmed in by sand dunes, bound by the sea and inland 
bays, it is still a forest primeval. Few places in the eastern United States 
offer the variety of plants for botanists or naturalists who wish long-range 
study programs of five to ten years. Here, due in part to the proximity of 
the Gulf Stream, nature lovers can see an unusual variety of flora. This 
wilderness is the northernmost range of some plants; the southernmost range 
of others. The heart of this park lies as a protected amphitheater, rimmed 
by ridges and dunes approximately a hundred feet high. From the sand ridges 
that run through the park as well as around it, one looks down on the great 
swampy areas where the black cypress water reflects, like a mirror, the gray 
Spanish moss pendant from the giant cypress trees, or upon ponds filled with 
thousands of water lilies, or lakes where migratory birds rest. The Virginia 
Seashore State Park is remarkable also because it is so accessible, being in 
the fast developing suburban area of Princess Anne and bounded on the east 
by the city of Virginia Beach. Time and again, it has been eyed by land 
developers and other business men, but its irreplaceable value as a State 
Park has been recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia.-*"' For many years 
tlie sailing vessels would anchor off this so called desert and send small 
skiffs ashore with men to fill casks with cypress water found in the lagoons 
a short distance back from the beach. The cypress water, while dark in 
color, tasted good and remained fresh on the long voyages required of these 

It has been noted that the civic center of this County has changed its 


location many times. It was previously pointed out that the first Eastern Shore 
Chapel was built of logs before 1689 on Wolf snare Creek near an Indian 
village on the Eastern Shore of Lynnhaven River. This village was on the 
property now owned by the R. F. Trant family and was called Chesepiooc. 
The Indians had disappeared from this area by the time Princess Anne began 
its independent existence in 1691, and very shortly after that date the Court 
House which had been built in 1689 was removed across to the Western 
Shore. This new settlement which had both church and courthouse by 1695 
and which should really have a name other than "Old Donation," was to 
have a short life as a center of government. 

In 1697 a town had been established further south on the Eastern branch 
of the Elizabeth River. This was called "New Town." The population center 
was shifting but the Court House was not moved to "New Town" until 1758. 
There could have been many causes for the transfer. It has been attributed 
partially to the silting up of the Lynnhaven River after its entrance was 
changed. The Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River and the entrance to 
Broad Creek were and still are navigable. Another factor was the wealth and 
influence of the families that settled in the southwestern corner of the county. 
The Walkes of Fairfield, the Kempes of Kempe's Landing, the Moseleys of 
Rolleston and Greenwich, the Lawsons of Lawson Hall, the Hancocks, the 
Calverts and the Saunders of Pembrook and the Hoggards of Poplar Hall 
were all influential, and their homes were all in this southwest section. 

New Town was built on land belonging to Colonel William Moseley. 
According to one source: 

New Town's span of life was barely a century old but during this time it 
rose to the dignity of a Port of Entry with a Customhouse and a British Gar- 
rison. Here was located the third county Courthouse from 1758 to 1788. Here 
people of Norfolk took refuge when Lord Dunmore shelled and burned Not- 
folk in 1776.27 
Another authority adds the following details: 

In 1697 the town of New Town, on the Eastern Branch was established 
by law, and fifty acres of land were laid off into two acre lots. In 1751 the 
courthouse, stocks and pillory were removed to New Town and there remained 
until 1778. James Nimmo taught school here in 1732 — he was the church 
clerk and a vestryman for a long period, and the king's attorney from 1732 
to 1752.-8 
The following is a reference to early mercantile activity at New Town: 

To Capt. Wm. Parsons, New Town. This / Sr. may Please to give mr. 
Fraisier of Maryland who maried the Daughter of one mr. Holland mother 
of wm. Bolithos daughtrs upon wch daughtrs acot. give them Credt in your 
Store at New Town for between forty & fifty Shillings at most, & take suffi- 
cient Receipt on this my noat wch shall oblige the paymt there by Novembr 
25th 1735. Sr Yr Humb: Servt. Edw: Moseley.--' 


This was the same Colonel Moseley who had joined Governor Spotswood on 
his westward explorations. By law no hogs were allowed to run at large in 
the streets of New Town, nor were wooden chimneys permitted. Indians were 
prohibited from coming into the town. 

Of all the early townships, Kempsville, which grew out of Kempe's 
Landing, is the only surviving colonial village. It is a charming place with 
fine old trees which were saplings set out a hundred and fifty years ago. 
It still has gambrel-roof houses, copied after Colonel Moseley's Dutch style 
house, which are so typical of this southeast part of Virginia. It has Georgian 
houses too, with Pleasant Hall, the home of Peter Singleton the elder, an 
especially handsome brick home. Kempsville also has homes of the two-story 
"A" roof type, which were built at the turn of the eighteenth century many 
places in the county. 

Kempsville was incorporated as a town in 1783. It seems that the founding 
fathers may have been busy with the activity of the Revolutionary War and 
the town was well developed physically a long while before the incorporation. 
There was a deep water landing there with a drawbridge; tobacco warehouses 
flourished on the banks of the canal.^" 

When the court first came to sit at Kempsville the house of George Logan 
was used. A levy was laid at the December 1778 session of the Court for 
fixing up and making convenient Logan's dry goods store for use as a court- 
house, and a part of the wet goods store for the jail. The Revolution had 
been in progress three and a half years when the court was moved from 
New Town to Logan's in Kemp's Landing. 

In April, 1775, the royal government in Virginia was dissolved and an 
independent government was organized by a convention that met at Richmond. 
This convention provided for the enlistment of an army for the protection and 
defense of the Commonwealth. A General Committee of Safety was formed, 
and this Committee was directed to select some qualified person to direct the 
organization of two regiments to number 1,020 soldiers each. 

The Colony was divided into districts for the enrollment of "minute-men. " 
Norfolk, Nansemond, Isle of Wight, Princess Anne, and the Borough of 
Norfolk were joined in one district. Each district had its Committee of 
Safety.*' The Committee for Princess Anne County was composed of the 
following gentlemen: 

Anthony Lawson Anthony Walke, Jun. 

William Nimmo William Keeling, Jun. 

William Robinson Erasmus Haynes 

Christopher Wright Dennis Dawley 

James Kempe James Henley 

John Hancock The. Old, Sen. 

John Ackiss James Tooley 


Edward Cannon Cason Moore 

William Hancock Thomas Brock 

Fred". Boush Joel Cornick, Jun. 

Jacob Hunter William Woodhouse*- 
George Jamison 

The Committees of Safety of the counties in this district were directed 
to appoint four members from each county and two for the Borough of 
Norfolk as deputies to meet in general convention for the purpose of fixing 
the number of minute-men to be enrolled in each county and borough. The 
minute-men, after being organized in companies, were trained twenty days 
in the place selected by the deputies, and, after being assigned to battalions, 
they were required to drill four successive days in each month, except the 
three winter months. 

An ordinance to increase the military force was passed on Friday, the first 
day of December, 1775, which recited in a preamble that: 

Whereas the Earl of Dunmore, by his many hostile attacks upon the good 
people of this colony, and attempts to infringe their rights and liberties by 
his proclamation declaring freedom to our servants and slaves, and arming 
them against us, by seizing our persons and properties and declaring those 
who opposed his arbitrary measures to be in a state of rebellion, made it neces- 
sary that an additional number of forces be raised, for our protection and 

This ordinance directed six additional regiments to be raised, and the 
officers and soldiers were required to take an oath, as follows: 

I do swear that I will be faithful and true to the Colony and Dominion 
of Virginia: that I will serve the same to the utmost of my power, in defense 
of the just rights of America against all enemies whatsoever; that I will, to 
the utmost of my abilities, obey the lawful commands of my superior officers, 
agreeable to the ordinances of the Convention and the articles of war to which 
I have subscribed, and lay down my arms peacefully when required to do so, 
either by the General Convention or General Assembly of Virginia. So help 
me, God.^^ 

Later, in May, 1776, all magistrates were required to take an oath of 
allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and they were required to ap- 
point officers to make a tour of their county to administer this oath of al- 
legiance to all freeborn males above the age of sixteen years. The names 
of all who had subscribed to the oath were listed and returned to the court, 
and those who refused were not allowed to hold office, serve on juries, sue 
for debts, or purchase property. 

Princess Anne County was to endure trying times. The territory was in 
constant danger from invasion, and every man was obliged to declare himself 


for or against the cause of Independence. There were many Tories in the 
county, who were arrested and tried for treason. One Tory, in an argument 
with a patriot neighbor, justified his stand by maintaining that it was in the 
nature of man to be loyal as it was in the nature of the lower animals — that 
"even bees had a queen." 

The poor, at this time, suffered greatly. Fathers and husbands had joined 
the standard of Liberty and their wives, children and aged parents sufJered 
accordingly. Governor Patrick Henry appointed Cornelius Calvert to furnish 
aid to such dependents in Norfolk County, and it is probable that such aid 
was extended to those suffering in Princess Anne. 

Because of their religious scruples, the Quakers in the district who were 
drafted, were unwilling to fight, and the law, recognizing their sincerity and 
respecting their adherence to the tenets of their faith, provided that they be 
exempt from military service by furnishing substitutes, to be paid by assess- 
ment on their church organizations. 

Baptists and Methodists were not averse to fighting a common enemy, 
but~antagonism between the two sects at that time was so great that they 
objected to fighting side by side in the same company or regiment. As a 
result, the Governor was empowered by law to enlist Baptists and Methodists 
in separate companies, with the right to elect their own company officers. 
When regiments were formed, field officers were appointed by the Governor 
from the same denomination as the officers elected by the companies.*^ This 
respect for religious beliefs and deep prejudices indicates great wisdom on 
the part of those in authority. 

In early October, 1775, under cover of a British man-of-war in the Norfolk 
harbor, a British officer with a squad of soldiers and sailors wrecked the 
printing office of James Holt, a patriot editor. A few days later, on October 15, 
British troops were sent to Kempsville in Princess Anne County where they 
destroyed some firearms which had been stored there. Captain Mathews of 
the Minute-men was captured and his men dispersed. 

In the State Library, at Richmond, there is preserved a memoir*'' of Mrs. 
Helen Reade, entitled "My Mother," written by the late William Maxwell 
from his mother's dictation. Mrs. Reade was the daughter of Maximilian 
Calvert. She was married first to Captain James Maxwell and second to 
Dr. John K. Reade. Her recital gives an eye witness account of this skirmish 
at Kempe's Landing. According to her testimony the encounter reflected little 
credit upon the minute-men. Lord Dunmore entered the town in triumph, 
and established his quarters at Mrs. Logan's, and Mrs. Reade states that: 

. . . those who could not conveniently run away went at once and took the 
oath of allegiance ... all who thus declared themselves on the King's side 
wore a badge of red cloth on their breasts, and the price of the article rose 
in the stores. 


The Logans were Tories, as were many of the inhabitants of Princess Anne 
County, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Among them were many British merchants 
settled in the towns, in whose hands was much of the trade. They were com- 
pelled to leave the colony, or be taken into custody. 

There was a second battle fought at KempsviUe, on the l6th day of 
November, 1775, when Lord Dunmore again invaded Princess Anne. He 
surprised and defeated the militia, who were on the march to join the colonial 
troops for the defense of the Tidewater section of Virginia. Girardin states 
that about 200 men of the Princess Anne militia were attacked unexpectedly 
and compelled to engage under the double disadvantages of an unfavorable 
ground and inferior numbers. He wrote: 

Supported, however, by inherent courage, and warmed by the justice of 
a noble cause, they, for some time, fought with great bravery and execution. 
At last the combined disadvantage, just mentioned, compelled them to retreat, 
which they did in perfect order. ^' 

A very different account of this battle is given in a letter, written Novem- 
ber 20, 1775, by Robert Sheddon, a Tory, of Portsmouth. He stated that, at 
the first onset of the British, the shirtmen took to the woods in a most 
ignominious fashion. John Ackiss, one of the minute-men was killed in this 
encounter and Colonel Joseph Hutchings and Colonel Anthony Lawson, 
with several others were captured. In this regard the following comment has 
been made: 

It is worthy of note that while their men seem to have done little credit 
to themselves, Colonels Hutchings and Lawson stood their ground.^* 

The following month, December, 1775, plans were proposed for the exchange 
of prisoners, and the following correspondence between Lord Dunmore and 
Colonel Robert Howe of the American troops is of interest:^" 

Ship Dunmore, Dec. 25, 1775 

I have this moment received yours of the 24th and in compliance with 
your request have empowered the bearer, Mr. Lawrie, to agree to any one of 
your Lieutenants in our custody being exchanged in place of Mr. Batut, Lieu- 
tenant of the I4th Regiment, and an equal number of your privates in lieu 
of those of the I4th with you now. 

Your most ob'dt humble serv't. 

To Robert Howe, Esquire. 

Colonel Howe was far from being in agreement with Lord Dunmore's 
proposal. His reply was as follows: 


Norfolk, Dec. 25, 1775 
My Lord: — 

Desirous as we are to regain our friends in your custody and to return to 
the army the officers and men of their corps who have fallen into our hands, 
we can by no means submit to place the officers and soldiers of the army, who 
have been taken in battle upon a footing with those officers of Militia and the 
peasants that you have thought proper to deprive of their liberty. We have, 
since our march from the Great Bridge, taken a number of those who were 
in action at that place, among them, some who acted under your commissions 
as field officers; those I conceive may be equitably exchanged for those of the 
same rank in your hands; and, reluctant as I am to continue in confinement 
either your prisoners or ours, I shall consent to no exchange but such as equity 
shall warrant. 

I beg leave to refer you to Mr. Lawrie for particulars. I should be glad to 
be favored with a list of the prisoners you have in your hands, the rank they 
bear, and the manner in which they were taken. 

I am. My Lord, your Lordship's most Ob'dt, humble Serv't, 

Robert Howe 

To His Excellency, Lord Dunmore. 

Ship Dunmore, Dec. 26, 1775 

Yours of last night I received and really am at a loss to know what your 
meaning is; you certainly, when you proposed an exchange of prisoners, could 
never have meant to pay your own people so poor a compliment as not to 
look upon those whom the Convention thought proper to appoint to hold 
military commissions in any other light than officers; those you talk of as 
officers of Militia and Peasants, whom you say I have thought proper to deprive 
of their liberty, come under that predicament, and were taken armed against 
their liege Sovereign. 

If the rank of officers is not to be our guide, I own I am at a loss to know 
what rule we are to be governed in exchange of prisoners. 

I am Sir, Your humble servant, 


To Robert Howe, Esquire. 

Norfolk, Dec. 27, 1775 
My Lord: — 

I was not understood by Your Lordship last night and it gives me concern. 
You do me justice, however, when you suppose I could not mean, even by 
implication, to degrade any commissions issued by Convention, whose author- 
ity I acknowledge, whose appointment I honor, and to whose service I have 
devoted myself. 

I am, I find, obliged to inform your Lordship of what I really thought 
you before acquainted: that Conventions, from the fatal necessities of the 
times, have been compelled to establish three military bodies; Militia, Minute 


Battalions, and Regular Regiments, and that they have made a distinction in 
the rank of each. What I said, therefore, in respect to militia officers was not 
without propriety had my meaning extended no further than as to their rank. 
You, My Lord, sometimes affect so much to despise any rank derived from 
Conventions that courtesy itself cannot induce you, even in the common forms 
of address, to admit those appellations which they have fixed to particular 
characters. Circumstances, however, at other times, have so far an influence 
upon Your Lordship as to prevail upon you not only to admit that rank, but 
to endeavor to carry it higher than even the Conventions intended. 

A Colonel in the Minute Service ranks only with a Lieutenant Colonel of 
the Regulars; a Colonel of Militia only with a Lieutenant Colonel of Minute 
Men. This must make it plain that a Militia Lieutenant, though your Lord- 
ship had taken him in battle, can not be deemed an equitable exchange for 
a Lieutenant of Regulars. . . . The Convention, in order to establish a Militia, 
have appointed Captains in particular districts to train and exercise in arms 
all from 16 to 60 years of age without instructing them to act against Gov- 
ernment; these may meet and go through the manual exercise and then return 
home without the least guilt. Six months later, should some or all of these 
people be taken from their ploughs, made prisoners, and offered in exchange 
for those who are prisoners of war, could an officer be justified who admitted 
of such an exchange.-* or would you. My Lord, should we seize upon the person 
of the peasants who come into this town every day, and who attend to your 
Proclamation and subscribe to your Test, admit of them for exchange for our 
officers and men, who you assert were taken in Arms? 

Colonel Howe concludes with the statement of several other pertinent 
facts. He does not say to Lord Dunmore, however, that in the event that 
should he (Colonel Howe) ever become a prisoner of Lord Dunmore's, his 
rank would be considerably above that of "esquire" for purposes of exchange. 

It is not probable that conditions of exchange were settled at this time, 
as Colonels Lawson and Hutchings were not released, but were sent as 
prisoners to east Florida on the "Otter, man-of-war. Captain Squire," one of 
the vessels which participated in the bombardment of Norfolk. 

Later in 1775, the following resolution was passed: 

Journal of the Committee of Safety for Virginia 
On considering a verbal proposition, formerly made by L'd Dunmore to 

this Comm'ee, del'd by Colo. Alex'r Gordon, for the exchange of prisoners; 
Resolved that the following proposal for such an exchange be sent to his 

Lordship by the commanding officer in ye neighborhood of Norfolk, viz: 

Colo. Alx'r Gordon and Colo. Jacob EUegood for Colo. Anthony Lawson and 

Colo. Joseph Hutchings. 

This exchange was evidently satisfactorily concluded in regard to Colonel 
Lawson, as the records of the Committee of Safety contain the following 
copy of a letter from the Governor of East Florida: 


East Florida 

(Seal) By his Excellency, Patrick Tanyon, Esq., Captain-General Gov- 
ernor and commander-in-chief in and over the Province. 

Permission is hereby given to Anthony Lawson, Esq., to pass from hence 
to Virginia, he being upon his Parole to release or cause to be released, at 
the desire of the Earl of Dunmore, any person or Prisoner there, otherwise 
to deliver himself up again. 

Given under my Hand and Seal at St. Augustine, this twenty-third day 
of November, 1776. 

Pat. Tanyon 
To all whom it may concern.*"' 

Colonel Jacob EUegood, referred to in the above exchange of prisoners, 
was a Tory.* He was a third generation resident of this vicinity, and his home 
was "Rose Hall" in Great Neck on the land possibly formerly occupied by 
an Indian village, Chesepiooc. At the end of the Revolution he was forced 
to leave Princess Anne, and he moved to New Brunswick, Canada. From his 
home in New Brunswick in 1801, he made his will, leaving "Rose Hall" 
plantation to his friend. Colonel Anthony Walke, his brother-in-law, John 
Saunders, and to two of his sons, Jacob and John Saunders EUegood. In 1803 
the property was sold to a younger son, William EUegood. "Rose Hall," at 
the present time is owned by Mrs. Reuben Trant.** 

Colonel Anthony Lawson [IV] was born in 1729 and died in 1785. He 
was the son of Thomas Lawson, of "Lawson Hall," Princess Anne County. 
His home had been built by his great-grandfather, Lieut. Col. Anthony Law- 
son [II] in the late seventeenth century. His wife was Mary Calvert. Colonel 
Lawson was a lawyer and had held the office of Justice of Princess Anne 
County, Sheriff, and vestryman of Lynnhaven Parish as well as Churchwarden. 
He has many descendants living today in Princess Anne, Norfolk and Ports- 
mouth. "Lawson Hall," rebuilt (but not restored) since its burning about 
1890, is today the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Laird. 

The Tories of Princess Anne County were naturally regarded as detri- 
mental to the welfare of the area, and in April, 1776, the Committee of 
Safety of Virginia had ordered the removal of a large part of the population. 
The Committee of Safety for Princess Anne, in May, sent a petition to the 
State Committee, in behalf of themselves and the inhabitants of the county, 
setting forth the distresses and ruin which must attend them from the carry- 
ing into execution of the order, and praying that it might be revised or re- 
scinded. The State Committee upon consideration of the petition, appointed 

* His father Jacob EUegood, Sr., was son of John EUegood of the Borough of Norfolk, 
churchwarden there in 1734/5 and Alderman in 1736. 

**This is the original "Rose Hall" north of Wolf Snare and west of Great Neck Road. In 
recent years the name has become erroneously connected with the Francis Land house (c. 1750) 
near Lynnhaven Village. [Editor's Note] 


"William Robinson, Thomas Reynolds Walker, Thomas Old, John Thorow- 
good, James Henley, Erasmus Haynes and William Wishart, Gentlemen, or 
any four or more of them to assemble themselves and make strict inquiry 
into the temper and former conduct of the inhabitants of the said County 
of Princess Anne, and certify to Major General Lee, or the commanding 
officer at Suffolk, or its neighborhood, which of them had taken an active part 
in behalf of the cause of independence, which had remained quietly at home 
without taking an active part on either side, and which had appeared inimical 
to that cause, after which investigation the commanding officer was desired 
to suffer such as had been friends or neutrals to remain at their habitations 
with their families, but to remove all their live stock except such as the 
commissioners, above named, should judge to be necessary for their sub- 
sistence, but that all the enemies of America be compelled to remove, with 
their families and effects, according to the former resolution." 

More than a year later, in the summer of 1777, the counties of Princess 
Anne and Norfolk were subject to the depredations of a band of Tory banditti, 
under the leadership of Josiah Philips. Philips was a laborer of the parish of 
Lynnhaven, in Princess Anne County. He was a man of great daring and 
ferocity and his band was composed of men of like calibre. They spread fear 
and desolation throughout the two counties, committing cold-blooded mur- 
ders, burning houses, wasting farms and perpetrating other outrages. The 
inhabitants of Norfolk and Princess Anne sent representatives to the Gov- 
ernor, asking for protection. As a result an act was passed by the Virginia 
Legislature giving Philips a reasonable but limited time to surrender himself 
to justice, and to submit to a trial by his peers, according to the law of the 
land. A refusal would be considered a confession of guilt, and would divest 
him, as an outlaw, of the character of citizen. 

Philips did not come in before the day appointed, but continued his de- 
predations, and was finally captured. The attorney for the Commonwealth 
charged him as a murderer and robber. He pleaded that he was a British 
subject, authorized to bear arms by a commission from Lord Dunmore, that 
he was, therefore, a mere prisoner of war, and under the protection of the 
law of nations. The court, maintained that a commission from an enemy 
could not protect a citizen in deeds of robbery and murder. Philips was found 
guilty by the jury, sentenced by the court, and executed. ■*- 

Benedict Arnold, after his treachery at West Point, New York, was 
commissioned by the British and during the latter part of the war was sta- 
tioned in Portsmouth. Under his direction a map of Princess Anne, Norfolk 
and Nansemond Counties was made, which is a valuable contribution to the 
history of the period. It is interesting to note how many of the old names 
still remain: Cape Henry, Lynnhaven Inlet, London Bridge, Dam Neck, 
North Landing, Kemps (Kempsville), Linkhorn Bay and North River are all 


there. Dwellings are also marked on the maps. It is interesting to note that 
the area in the Seashore State Park is marked as "Desart Sands, " and the 
lower part of the county as "Arable Land." 

The General Assembly at Williamsburg on October 20, 1777 (the capital 
was not moved to Richmond until 1779) passed an act for recruiting Virginia 
regiments for the Continental line. Congress had made Virginia's portion 8,160 
rank and file. Some of the state troops were transferred to help make up 
the complement, besides a certain number of single men who were drafted 
from the militia. Each draftee received a bounty of $15.00 on being enrolled. 

Another act for raising additional battalions for the Continental line 
required fifteen to be furnished by Virginia, and offered a bounty of 100 acres 
of land for every non-commissioned officer and private; 150 acres for an 
ensign, 200 acres for a lieutenant, 300 for a captain, 300 for a major, 400 for 
a lieutenant-colonel, and 500 for a colonel. 

An Act passed in May, 1778, offered as an inducement to enlist, a bounty 
of $30.00 and a complete suit of regimentals consisting of "a coat, jacket, 
one pair of breeches, two pairs of shoes, two pairs of stockings, two shirts, 
and a hat; to be served with one gill of spirits per day until January 1, 1779;" 
also they should be exempt from drafts and taxes for twelve months after 
discharge.^^ Many officers and enlisted men of Princess Anne, who survived 
the war, received home sites in lieu of pay, by these acts. 

During the periods when the actual conflict was removed from this area, 
the farmers were doing their utmost to furnish food for the armed forces. 
In 1781, Governor Nelson reported that the French, at Yorktown, were 
adequately supplied with meat from Princess Anne and Norfolk Counties.** 
While the number of regiments and the names of officers, soldiers, and 
sailors of Virginia in the Revolutionary War have been preserved in the 
archives of the State, there is no mention, on the roll, of the counties from 
which the soldiers enlisted, and consequently, it is impossible to obtain the 
number, and few of the names, of the soldiers from Princess Anne. There is 
little doubt that Princess Anne furnished her quota, for the court records of 
the period refer again and again to many companies in which particular 
soldiers enlisted.*^ 

When the war was over the people returned to civilian life under the 
democratic form of government. The following polls were held in 1789 
in Princess Anne County: 

Poll for the election of an elector to choose a President for the new 

A poll for the election of a delegate to Congress, Feb. 1789. 

A poll, opened 9 April 1789, for the election of a senator for the district 
of Nansemond, Norfolk & Princess Anne counties. There follows a list of 


many names; after each one the poll keeper, Peter Evans, has added his own 
descriptive remark. For instance: 

Thos Cannon, squints 
Reuben Douge, very long 
Thos Lovett Sr., pork maker 
Jno Smith (son of Deaf Jno) 
Robt. R. Keeling, some doubt 
Abel Camonds, very old 
Wm. White, lame of the gout 
Thos Bonny, don't know him 
Peter Singleton, alis Czar 

A poll, 9 April 1789, for the election of a representative for the assembly 
of this Commonwealth.''* 

These polls were a new experience for the new citizens of the new United 
States. It seems there were many who did not appreciate their privilege for 
about this time a list of scores of persons was presented by the Grand Jury 
"for not voting at the late Election for delegates to serve the County." 

There is much of historical interest in the old town of Kempsville. A 
short distance from the crossroads on the south road there is a small "A"- 
roofed house which was one of the out buildings of Fairfield, the estate of the 
'Walkes. This is the oldest building around Kempsville and probably dates 
from the late seventeenth century. Kemp's Landing was a trading post at this 
same early time and the Walkes owned many vessels that sailed from England 
to Barbadoes and "Virginia. They were responsible for its first growth. 

The old brick courthouse stands a block off the main west to east highway 
which winds up from the old landing place. The walls of the courthouse 
are sturdy and could again be serviceable but it is crowded today with weeds 
and vines. This empty shell must echo with the ghosts of those who pleaded 
justice for the citizens of the Royal Colony of Virginia and also those lawyers 
of the new democratic government. It was prior to 1789 that the courthouse 
was moved from New Town to this building.^^ At about the same time pillory 
and stocks and a jail were built. The jail built in 1782 was of wood and 
was not too successful. There are repeated court orders for repairs and rein- 
forcement of the windows. Also, day and night a guard was employed at 
nine pounds of tobacco for each detail. This jail burned for there is a court 
order for salvaging the nails.** 

The brick jail which survives today was built in 1787. The specifications 
for its construction are very detailed and the court order leaves no doubt as 
to the exact time of the construction of the jail. 

Still standing in Kempsville is "Pleasant Hall," the home built by Peter 
Singleton. This is the same Peter Singleton called by the poll keeper, "alis 


Czar." This Peter Singleton was a Justice of the County Court before the 
Revolution, a churchwarden of the Parish Church as well as vestryman. Old 
court records show that he lent money, gave bail and was addressed as 
"gentleman," He was loyal to the cause of the Revolution, although the 
community in which he lived was pro-royalist. 

Peter Singleton, I, built his fine Georgian brick house in 1779, for there 
is a brick in the wall of the basement with the date April 19, 1779. This 
means he built his home during the Revolutionary War. It is truly a mansion 
and in excellent condition. There are enormous H. & L. hinges on the doors, 
and the woodwork all through the house is noteworthy. In the parlor there 
is a built-in cupboard with butterfly shelves and especially beautiful is the 
panelled mantle with handsomely carved Corinthian capitals. "Pleasant Hall" 
is one of the finest of the old houses of the late Georgian period. 

Across the street from "Pleasant Hall" on the south of the main highway 
are three very old houses. The first is next to Emanuel Episcopal Church, of 
which it is the rectory. This house may have been built in the late seventeenth 
century. Today it is a altered gambrel-roof house. Next to it is another 
gambrel-roof house so surrounded by additions that it is hard to find the 
original house. These two houses are of the typical Princess Anne County 
style, which is said to have started with the Cavalier, William Moseley, 
as before noted. Next on the west is a reconstructed brick house of the early 
eighteenth century, which was moved from close by in the county. 

To the east of "Pleasant Hall" is the place called the "Victory Ball 
House." It was in this corner house, which belonged to Frederick Boush 
(already mentioned as a member of the Committee of Safety for Princess 
Anne County) that the victory over England is supposed to have been cele- 
brated. Just behind Boush's house and directly in line with the Courthouse 
and jail was a famous tavern kept by Billy White. There are many records 
which mention Billy White and a reconstruction of his life would make an 
interesting history of the times. He seems to have been an active and colorful 
individualist. Mrs. Reade, who wrote about the first skirmish at Kempsville 
also tells of a real "cloak & dagger" experience while staying at Billy White's 
Tavern, on the evening of the day Dunmore occupied the town. Mrs. Reade 
and her sister, Mrs. Marsden, had rooms opposite each other on the second 
floor of the Tavern. Mrs. Reade wrote: 

When I entered the house (the Tavern), I found it filled with refugees, 
some of whom knew me and was disposed to be very polite. They had a 
rousing iire below, and were very merry. My sister, and I both went up and 
retired to our chambers. Soon, afterwards, a servant girl came in to say that 
there was some one at the bottom of the garden, wanting to see me, and, she 
added he says you must come to him directly. And, who is it.' said I. Why 
he told me not to tell anyone, said she, but, he says he is your husband. So 


I followed the girl, and there I found Mr. Maxwell. I told him, of course, 
all the occurrences of the day. Well, said he, I see that I must still keep 
out of the way, for I am determined not to join Lord Dunmore in any event. 
Well, said I, but at least, you can be safe here to night, and you can come 
in privately and spend it with me, and tomorrow you may be off again. Well, 
said he, I believe I will take your advice. So we went in together, and shortly 
afterwards retired to rest. Not long afterwards, however, I saw by the light 
of the moon shining into the room, two tali grenadiers, armed cap-apee, come 
in and make directly for the bed where he lay. In an instant Mr. Maxwell 
was up, and demanded. What do you want? Hush! said one of the men, Hush 
or you are a dead man. Still Mr. Maxwell persisted. What do you want, I 
say.' Leave the room this instant, or, your officers are below, and I will call 
them up. At this the fellow made a pass at him with his bayonet, which went 
through his shirt and even grazed his breast, and, turning then, they made 
for the door, and ran down stairs, and Mr. Maxwell after them. At this, I 
rose also, for I thought they had gone into my sister's room, and drawing on 
my gown, followed the chase, making but one step from the top to the bottom 
of the stairs. Here, I found my sister and several of the refugees with lights 
crying. What's the matter? Mr. Maxwell pointed to a hoisted window and 
said, I saw the rascals go out of that window.'"* 

It takes little imagination to visualize Kempsville of Revolutionary times, 
for so much of that town is still there, the old houses and court building and 
fine old trees. 

In 1824 the Courthouse was moved again. The site chosen was then called 
Cross Roads and is known today as Princess Anne Court House. This change 
made the Kempsville Courthouse available for use as a Baptist Church, and 
the jail was used for a school house. 

The late Judge B. D. White wrote of Kempsville: 

Kempsville was, for a number of years, an educational center, the ances- 
tors of many of the prominent families of the county and the City of Norfolk, 
attended its academy. This school continued until 1850. 

At this same time a turnpike road was advocated from Kempsville to 
Norfolk and a number of prominent citizens were incorporated to construct 
the same. It was not until 1871, after the War, that the turnpike was 

A canal company was also incorporated to connect the headwaters of the 
Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River with the headwaters of the Lynnhaven 
River; this was begun and partially dug, the State taking part of the stock 
in the company, but the War put at end to the company and the canal was 
never finished. 

Prior to this tugs and two-masted schooners came to Kempsville, the small 
bridge over which you now pass in entering the town had at that time a 
draw for the passage of vessels. Several large warehouses lined the banks of 

Va. 2—6 


the river. Great quantities of oak "knees" (used in the hull construction of 
wooden ships) and timber of all kinds were shipped from here to the Nor- 
folk Navy Yard (in Portsmouth). It was the shipping point for most of the 
products of the county, then a very large corn and wheat-growing section.^** 

(Courtesy Norfolk Chamber of Commerce) 


As the eighteenth century closed, the gigantic conflict between Great 
Britain and Napoleon led to a fierce commercial struggle in which the United 
States became vitally involved. Napoleon had closed the European ports under 
his control to British goods. In retaliation, the British government issued 
various Orders in Council, forbidding neutral vessels to trade at any port 
which was closed to the British flag, unless such vessels had first touched at 
a British harbor and had paid duties to the British government. The action 
of both belligerents was in flagrant violation of international law. As Jefferson 
said, "England seemed to have become a den of Pirates and France a den of 
Thieves." These policies seriously menaced the fast-growing commerce of the 
United States. 


A second cause of the War of 1812 was the impressment of American 
seamen. Great Britain did not recognize the rights of naturalization. Her 
theory of citizenship was "Once an Englishman, always an Englishman." Ac- 
cordingly her naval commanders had strict orders to stop and search neutral 
ships for so-called deserters. It was difficult to prove citizenship while at sea, 
and hundreds of Americans had been forced to serve on British ships. 

These outrages culminated June 22, 1807, in the unprovoked attack by 
His Britannic Majesty's ship. Leopard on the American frigate, Chesapeake, 
soon after the latter had passed Lynnhaven Roads on her way between the 
Virginia Capes. The attack was made because the American commander, 
James M. Barron, refused to permit his vessel to be searched for deserters. 
Three Americans were killed, eighteen were wounded and three Americans 
were taken on board the British ship. After five years of fruitless negotiation. 
President Madison sent a war message to Congress, and on June 18, 1812, 
war was formally declared. 

Princess Anne and Norfolk Counties were constantly menaced by the 
fleets of Great Britain. On 4 February 1813, Admiral Sir George Warren's 
fleet was anchored in Lynnhaven Roads, and all the ports and harbors of 
Chesapeake Bay were declared in a state of strict blockade. The fleet arrived 
between one and two o'clock and consisted of two line-of-battle ships, three 
frigates and a tender. The Admiral sent boats as far in as WiUoughby's 
Point, which he recalled by firing a gun from his ship. The county militia 
established themselves to defend their county and their homes. The Pleasure 
House on the Bay Shore was their headquarters. Colonel William Sharp was 
stationed at Norfolk and did his best to acquire means to defend the area. 
On February 6th Colonel Sharp wrote to Governor James Barbour: 

... I rece'd a letter by Express from Bay Shore (Pleasure House). . . . The 
enemy . . . were joined last night by two other frigates. They yesterday eve- 
ning burnt a schooner and sent the crew on shore. . . . Princess Anne is badly 
off ... a great portion of their arms unfit for service. No ammunition (of 
account) for muskets and none for cannon. ^^ 

Admiral Warren was reported to have landed at Cape Henry for the 
purpose of procuring wood and water, and the Governor ordered out 3,000 
men and the legislature of the Commonwealth voted $300,000 for immediate 
defense. At this time there was no landing of a fighting force, but the 
American schooner. Lottery, under Captain Southcomb, bound from Baltimore 
for France, in going out of the bay was discovered by the squadron. After a 
desperate action the schooner was captured and a number of Americans were 
killed. The Captain was severely wounded and died of his wounds. Captain 
Byron, of the British ship Belvidera, returned Captain Southcomb's body to 
the Americans in a neat mahogany coffin, with a note to Captain Charles 


Stewart, of the American ship, Constellation, extolling the courage of the 
dead captain, and commending the gallant manner in which the Lottery had 
been defended. 

One of the many interesting place names in Princess Anne County com- 
memorates the War of 1812. During the war a British frigate anchored off 
what is now Virginia Beach, and an amphibious landing took place. A party 
of English sailors marched inland for about a mile, where they were met by 
the County militia and repulsed. The coast was bombarded and cannon balls 
fell in the area now known as Seatack, the name being derived from "Sea 
Attack."^- The part of the coast now called Virginia Beach, was called "Sea- 
tack" for more than half a century, and the first life-saving station, built 
near what is now 24th Street, in 1878, was called Seatack Station. 

The stealing of negroes by some of the British and the cruel manner in 
which they were taken from their homes aroused general indignation in this 
area. Captain Lloyd, of His Majesty's Ship Plantdganet, was notorious in this 
practice. The return of peace in Europe, in 1814, removed the causes of the 
war and both England and the United States were glad to end a conflict 
which had brought no great glory to either. The treaty of peace was signed 
at Ghent on Christmas Eve, 1814. 

The fifth courthouse was built in 1824, and in the adjoining clerk's office 
are the county records from its inception in 1691 to the present. This is the 
courthouse still in use today. It was established at this cross roads so as to be 
located in the center of the county. When the court moved here there were 
many old houses near the cross roads. A tavern was built and later a railroad 
ran from Norfolk through the Cross Roads to the lower county. Some of the 
older 18th century houses are being restored, others that are standing will 
soon fall into decay. Today at Princess Anne Court House the old courthouse 
building and its jail are assisted by a more modern jail, an enlarged Clerk's 
Office and other county buildings which have been needed in recent years. 
Some of the beautiful trees that once surrounded the courthouse remain. 
Gone are the small buildings used as lawyers offices until a short time ago. 
The Confederate monument erected to those from the County who gave 
their lives is on the Court House Green. 

The history of the churches of Princess Anne County parallels the history 
of her court towns. In early Princess Anne the Established Church of England 
was the most important. In fact, the Church and the Government were so 
close that the Church and the Court House were usually built side by side, 
and frequently the same gentlemen were vestrymen and court officers. The 
laws were strict about tithing, baptism and church attendance, but church- 
going was not limited to the Church of England. From the earliest times dis- 
senters were present and although people were required by law to attend 


church, the Act of Toleration of William and Mary permitted them to attend 
the church of their own choosing. ^'^ 

As noted in a previous chapter, the Lynnhaven Parish Church was first 
located at Church Point (near Bayville Farms). It was accessible to the 
early families who lived near the mouth of the Lynnhaven River, who traveled 
for both business and pleasure by boat. As the families spread out over the 
county it was recognized a hardship for the outlying settlers to attend the 
Parish Church. This resulted in smaller local churches being built, which 
were known as "chapels of ease." The parish minister visited the chapels 
when he could, but the clerk of the chapel usually read the service and the 

The first chapel of ease (of which there is very little record) was on the 
Southern Shore of the Eastern Branch of Elizabeth River. A second Eastern 
Branch Chapel was standing in 1700 and was described as the "chapel for 
the Eastern Branch Precinct" of Lynnhaven Parish.®* This chapel was on the 
opposite shore of the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River near the "New 
Town" on the east side of Hoskins Creek. However, the Colonial Vestry Book 
of Lynnhaven Parish, dated 1723 to 1786, makes no mention of the Eastern 
Branch Precinct chapel.®^ 

This old vestry book opens with the appointment of clerks for the brick 
church (which is the second Lynnhaven Parish Church of 1692 built near 
the present Old Donation Church) and for two chapels. The chapels are not 
named specifically although later entries call them upper and lower chapels. 
By 1725, the two chapels are identified as Eastern Shore Chapel, or the lower 
chapel, and the Machipongo or Pungo Chapel, or the upper chapel. They 
were located respectively in the upper and lower precincts of the Eastern 
Shore of Lynnhaven. 

The Parish Church and two chapels served the needs of the members of 
the Established Church with the help of reading places in private homes in 
the Blackwater and Knotts Island section,^" until the upheavals of the Revo- 
lutionary War, when, according to the Vestry Book of Lynnhaven Parish, 
they had no regular ministers from the beginning of the War until the 
Protestant Episcopal Church of Virginia was established in 1785. 

Legally there had been no connection between the State and Church in 
Virginia since Virginia became a state, but historically the connection existed 
until the 24th of January, 1799. Some contend that it existed until May 1804, 
when the failure of the Court of Appeals to reach a decision, affirmed the 
decree of Chancellor Wythe in the Manchester case, that the Glebe Lands 
might be sold. Robert R. Howison in his History of Virginia, Vol. 2., p. 205, 
says, "It was not until 1840 that an absolute separation of state and Church 
was effected in Virginia." and his opinion is impliedly accepted by Sanford 
H. Cobb in his "Rise of Religious Liberty in America," p. 512. The last of 


the great powers once held by the Vestry of Lynnhaven Parish, the power to 
seat people in the parish churches according to their social position, thus 
making the Vestry a Social Dictator, was lost in 1803 or 1804, during the 
rectorship of the Rev. George Halson. The right was resisted and the Vestry 
was too weak to enforce it.''' 

These were bad days for the Episcopal Church. One of the causes of the 
American Revolution had been the evil of tithing taxes to support the Church 
of England, which was required by law to be paid by members of all faiths 
as well as unbelievers. The Revolution put an end to this revenue. Another 
hardship was created by the custom in England of accepting the younger sons 
of the great English families into the ministry, regardless of their fitness. 
Most of these young men chose the ministry because it was one way in which 
they could maintain their caste; the only other way was by the purchase of 
a Commission in the Army or Navy. William Makepeace Thackeray, in The 
Virginians, presents a vivid picture of one of these horse-racing, cock-fighting 
parsons, who had little to recommend him as a minister of God except the 
fact that he had been ordained. These were not the men to rally the Church 
which had just suffered through a revolution. Also there were no Bishops in 
the colonies, which meant that American ministerial applicants must go to 
England for ordination and the laying on of hands by the Bishop of London. 
In addition the Protestant Episcopal Church in Princess Anne County in- 
herited dilapidated property without any substantial resources with which 
to work. 

After, 1785, the Episcopal Church in Virginia suffered a terrible depres- 
sion. Interest revived during the middle of the nineteenth century, but the 
time of the War Between the States and the Reconstruction again took heavy 
toll of its resources. The revival of interest in this church was slow to come 
in Princess Anne, and several of the old churches were abandoned. 

Today there are Protestant Episcopal Churches at Old Donation, Eastern 
Shore Chapel, Emanuel in KempsviUe and Galilee at Virginia Beach, and 
these fast growing churches are serving fast growing communities of Princess 
Anne County. 

The first Lynnhaven Parish Church at Church Point, near Adam Thorow- 
good's house, as previously stated, was replaced in 1692 by a brick Church 
on the same lot as the present Old Donation Church. Some of the founda- 
tions have been located with a sounding rod seventy feet southwest of the 
present church building.^* This building was specified to be "forty five foot 
in length and twenty two foot in breadth between the walls," which were 
to be thirteen feet high. It was required to be completed by the end of June, 
1692, under penalty of 100,000 pounds of tobacco, so this may safely be 
taken as its date.°^ The new church site was sold to the parish, after the 


church was built, in 1694 by Ebenezer Taylor,* who deeded to the vestry 
two acres of land "whereon the new brick church of Lynnhaven now stands."^** 
The building was erected by Jacob Johnson on Taylor's land "neare the road 
towards the ferry." This ferry had been established a few years earlier across 
the Western Branch of Lynnhaven. Ferry Farm, now owned by Mr. & Mrs. 
Walker A. Howern, is named for this ferry which operated nearby. 

Forty-one years later in 1733, the prosperity and population of Princess 
Anne County were so flourishing that a new church was needed and in 
August of that year the Vestry ordered a brick church at a new location: 

Resolved by the majority of one voice that at the ferry plantation is a fit 
and Convenient place to Set a New Church at and that the same be ther 

Present at this meeting were Mr. Henry Barlow, minister, Col. Anthony 
Walke and Capt. Francis Land, Churchwardens, and Capt. John Moseley, 
Major Henry Spratt, Capt. George Kempe, Mr. James Nimmo, Mr. Chris- 
topher Burroughs, Capt. Thomas Haynes and Capt. Francis Moseley, Vestry- 

Some "politicking" must have followed, for at the November meeting, 
in the same year, Capt. George Kempe and Capt. Thomas Haynes stayed 
away and Col. Edward Moseley, Charles Sayer, Mr. John Gornto, Capt. 
Jacob Ellegood and Major Maximilian Boush ordered that: 

This day unanimously resolved by the whole vestry (that) the new Church 
be built and placed where the old one (now) stands & that the Same be 
there Erected and Set.®- 

The Vestry proceeded with this work and the third Lynnhaven Parish 
Church was received by them from its builder, Peter Malbone, on the 25th of 
June, 1736.®^ To the right of the west doorway of the church we now call 
"Old Donation" is a brick dated 1736, and the dimensions of the third 
church and "Old Donation" are the same. The stone tablet set in the west 
end wall of "Old Donation" church is incorrect in giving the date of its 
construction as 1694. The same error appears on the state historical marker 
at the cross-road leading to the church. These dates refer to the previous 
church which was close by, but this second Lynnhaven Parish Church was 
never called "Old Donation." In fact, the name "Old Donation" was not 
used to describe this third church during the colonial period. In 1822 the 
vestry ordered "the Church called the Donation Church" to be put in repair. 
This name came from the gift or "donation" of adjoining lands, still called 
Donation Farm, by the last colonial rector, the Rev. Robert Dickson. The 

* A former schoolmaster in Hampton. 


Rev. Mr. Dickson died in 1776 and left this land to the church as an en- 
dowment for a free school for orphan boys.^^ 

One of the interesting features of Old Donation Church is the small 
ventilating windows of odd size and shape, high in the side walls of the 
church. These windows are not found in any other surviving colonial church 
building in Virginia.^* They were to light and ventilate the remarkable 
hanging pews the colonial gentlemen added to the church. The name hanging 
pew came from the manner in which these pews were constructed — literally 
suspended from the beams above by iron tie-rods. 

At a Vestry meeting held 10 July 1736 the following motion was passed: 

On the motion of Mr: William Robinson Liberty is given him to build 
a hanging Pew on the North side of the new Church & in case the family of 
the moseleys who have had the first liberty refuse to accept thereofl then the 
Said Robinson to have the liberty of building the first Pew as aforesaid not 
obstructing the light of the windows.^* 
At this same meeting the following interesting resolution was also passed: 

Resolved that mr: Patrick Hackett is a fitt person to Sett up in the gallery 
to keep everybody in order & if boy's or any other person will not be restrained 
but doe any indecency he is hereby required to report Same to the Church 
wardens who are Desired to take proper measures . . . Likewise mr: francis 
Moseley is appointed to look out of doors & if any person or persons are 
Siting & talking or Commiting any indecency dureing divine Service, he is 
hereby Impowered to Commit them to the care of the Constable . . . 

During the ministry of Mr. Robert Dickson in 1765, Capt James Kempe 
was given permission to erect a hanging pew on the north side of the church, 
and Mr. Edward Moseley, Junior, for a gallery on the south side "so that 
the same do not effect the pulpitt." By 1769 Mr. Walter Lyon and Mr. 
Thurmer Hoggard also had "hanging pews."*^^ 

Old Donation still owns the early Lynnhaven Parish communion silver. 
The paten, dated 1711, was a gift from Col. Maximilian Boush and is en- 
graved with his arms. The goblet is dated 1712 and the flagon 1716. These 
two pieces were given the church from Queen Anne's Bounty. Princess Anne 
had become Queen Anne in 1702. Two years later she had set aside for the 
use of the Established Church in its poor livings, sixteen thousand pounds 
a year under the name of "Queen Anne's Bounty." 

The parish had no regular minister from the outbreak of the Revolution 
until 1785 when the Protestant Episcopal Church of Virginia took the place 
of the disestablished Church of England.** These years took heavy toll of 
church property. In 1822-24 repairs were made, but religion in Virginia was 
at a low ebb and the Old Donation Church building was rotted and decayed 
when it caught fire in 1882. 

The rebuilt church at Old Donation today is due, first of all, to the fact 


that one man felt that this holy piece of ground with the ruins of the im- 
portant mother church of Lynnhaven Parish should be cared for. This man 
was Thurmer Hoggard IV, of Poplar Hall. When Old Donation Church was 
abandoned in 1842, Thurmer Hoggard went once a year with his family and 
descendants of former members of Old Donation Church and held service 
among the ruins. He knew that the Commonwealth of Virginia had passed a 
law that such churches and chapels as owned property under the Established 
Church of England and were not used for the space of a year were to escheat 
to the Commonwealth. During Thurmer Hoggard's lifetime he conformed 
to the law, and after his death his son, Capt. Thurmer Hoggard V, a Con- 
federate veteran, continued the yearly service until 1899, when the Rev. 
Richard J. Alfriend came to the parish church at Kempsville, first as lay 
reader and then as rector. He, too, held services at least annually until 1912, 
when a movement was begun to build a new congregation for Old Donation. 
This started with one member, Mrs. J. E. B. Stuart, who contributed a dollar.*® 
Mr. Alfriend and Judge B. D. White of Princess Anne County and Mr. C. M. 
Barnett of New York and Ferry Farm and numerous people in the County, 
organized a Sunday School and held frequent services. The huge trees which 
had grown up within the crumbled walls of the old brick church were felled 
and a parish house was built with their timber. In 1916, the restoration of 
Old Donation Church was complete and the dream of Thurmer Hoggard 
became a reality. He was never discouraged in his faith that someday this 
would happen and he is quoted as saying: 

We must hope for great things, pray for great things, then do our best, 
and leave the rest to God. 

A new parish house and rectory have recently been built and the families who 
have worked and been responsible for the growth of this church are fortunate 
in being a part of a long ministry. 

Old Donation Church may be reached today by turning north at Chinese 
Corner, from the Virginia Beach Boulevard onto Route 647, or south at 
Robbin's Corner from Route 13Y to Route 134. Today the church is growing 
fast again as the suburban developments increase around it. The Rev. 
Beverley D. Tucker, Jr., is rector here. 

The Lower Chapel, or Eastern Shore Chapel, was first located near the 
southern end of Great Neck, at the head of Wolfsnare Creek.™ On 17 Sep- 
tember 1689, there is a record of a court order which refers to the "Chapell 
of Ease in the Eastern Shore of Linhaven."'' This development was called 
Eastern Shore and we are again indebted to George Carrington Mason for 
much new information about this lost settlement. 

The Lynnhaven Parish Vestry Book contains a vestry order dated August 4, 
1724, "that a good, Commodious Chapel be built on the Eastern Shore." 


This second Eastern Shore Chapel was built on land patented by William 
Cornicle and a part of Salisbury Plains plantation. It was to be built of 
"framed work, weatherborded with inch pine plank, Lathed & Covered with 
Cypress shingles."'^ 

Here is the story of the third and fourth Eastern Shore Chapels:" 

The Vestry Book of Lynnhaven Parish has the following notation: 

At a Vestry held this twelfth day of March 1754, Prestt. Revd. Robt. 
Dickson, Minister. 

Capt. James Kempe Capt. William Keeling Ch Wardens Col. Anthony 
Walke Col. Nath. Newton Majr. Thos. Walke Capt. George Wishart Mr. Jno. 
Bonney Mr. William Woodhouse Senr. & Mr. Francis Thorowgood Land 

This day received from Joseph Mitchell The New Eastern Shore Chapel 
and do discharge him from his obligation of building and finishing the same, 
the above Vestry being satisfied with his performance thereof. 
(Signed) Antho Walke 

Little is known of Joseph Mitchell,* builder of the old brick chapel. He 
and his helpers did take square brick tiles and put their initials on them and 
set them in the walls over the doors. One bore the date 1754. 

It is interesting to note that he was paid 385 pounds in money for the 
building of the old brick chapel and that the money was raised by four suc- 
cessive annual levies of tobacco and that the congregation had 69,000 pounds 
to pay for the cost of construction. This would come to about $36,000 for 
an average grade of tobacco today. 

Two hundred years later on March 12, 1954 a fourth church was com- 
pleted. This new church was built after the Oceana Airbase required the site 
of the old church for enlarging the airbase. 

The new church stands on nine acres of land given by Helen Smithers 
Eager and her father, H. C. Smithers. An additional eleven acres was pur- 
chased by the church for the cemetery. 

The color of the interior of the new church is the same blue as was found 
under stain in the old church. In the specifications for the church built in 
1754 the whole church was to be completely painted "where tis requisite of 
a sky color." 

Irving Brock in his book. Colonial Churches of Virginia, states: "As we 
see them today nearly all of these interiors are painted white, but this was 
not always the case as records show. Sometimes the ceiling was a sky color, 
with cloud effects." 

The communion service used regularly in the chapel was given to the 
Colonial church by Queen Anne's Bounty in 1759. During the years that the 
county was occupied by the soldiers of the Union army, the senior warden. 

* He was probably builder of the first schoolhouse in Norfolk about 1761, as noted in Chapter 
XIII on the Borough of Norfolk. 


Mr. Swepson Brooks, who lived on the site of the Indian Village Chesepiooc, 
now the home of the Trant family, took the precaution of burying the paten 
and flagon and goblet in the hen house. During these four war years when- 
ever there was a hen to set, the nest over the spot where the silver was hidden 
was used.''* 

Bright days lie ahead for Eastern Shore Chapel and its opportunity to 
serve a growing community. The congregation is rapidly increasing under the 
Rev. Henry Causey Barton, Jr. 

The Chapel by the Sea was well known a generation ago, but is now 
almost a legend. This chapel was a mission from historic Eastern Shore 
Chapel, and the same rector held services at both churches. The chapel was 
at Dam Neck and was built like the mother chapel, but was constructed of 
wood rather than brick. It was built of lumber from the three-masted barque, 
Agnes Barton, which was wrecked in front of Dam Neck Mills Life Saving 
Station in April, 1889, while sailing from Rio de Janeiro to Baltimore. Four 
lives were lost and six saved by the life saving station men. The chapel was 
built by a man named Boyenton, and the work was under the supervision of 
Capt. Bailey T. Barco, who was in charge of the Dam Neck Mills Life Saving 
Station. Members of the congregation helped. The Rev. W. R. Savage, rector 
of Eastern Shore Chapel and Emanuel Church of Kempsville, encouraged 
the men at Dam Neck to build the "Chapel by the Sea." The Rev. John 
Wales, of Norfolk used to come to the county and preach in these Episcopal 
churches. In 1924 the "Chapel by the Sea" was no longer used as a church 
and Dr. Francis Steinmetz, then rector of Christ Church in Norfolk, bought 
the building for his church and it was remodeled as a recreation camp for 
girls from Christ Church. The church furnishings, the altar cross and vases, 
the Bible and the silver communion service now belong to and are used 
by the mother church, the Eastern Shore Chapel.'* 

The upper chapel, or Machipungo Chapel is often mentioned in the Lynn- 
haven Vestry Book starting in 1723, but it is not standing today. Its long 
Indian name was soon shortened to Pungo Chapel. The late George Carring- 
ton Mason believed the first Pungo Chapel was located somewhere on the 
peninsula between the present North Landing River and Back Bay, possibly 
in the vicinity of Creed's Post Office. He mentions a journal of Philip 
Ludwell and Nathaniel Harrison, the Virginia commissioners for running 
the dividing line between Virginia and North Carolina, in 1710.'^ According 
to their journal the commissioners rode over Pocaty Swamp Bridge to the 
west of North Landing River, which they crossed. After spending the night 
they "rode six miles to the Chappell, which was a very wretched one." 

Mr. Mason also related that in 1692 a pious philanthropist. Captain Hugh 
Campbell, gave an endowment in the form of two hundred acres of land 
for the support of a reader in each of three places, remote from church 


facilities, as well as a Bible for each reader. One of these places was the 
North Landing River in Princess Anne County.^' 

In 1739, James James agreed to build a new Pungo Chapel for the sum 
of three hundred and twenty two pounds, ten shillings.'* The Vestry chose a 
new location on the plantation of William Dyers, where the chapel was 
completed by 1743. The third Pungo ChapeF" was built close by the second. 
These last two chapels, one on the land of William Dyers, and the other on 
the land of Anthony Fentress, were about two and a half miles south of the 
village of Pungo, on the east side of the Pungo Ridge Road, and opposite 
the former home of W. G. Eaton. The third chapel was completed by Hardress 
Waller in 1774, just before the Revolutionary War, and was the largest of all 
the colonial churches built in Lynnhaven Parish. This chapel survived until 
the time of the Civil War, but since then it has disappeared. 

There was no parish church built at Kempsville until 1843. Old Donation 
held its congregation for sixty lean years after the Revolutionary War and 
the Episcopalians of Kempsville traveled four miles to church and four re- 
turning miles. In 1840, the Rev. John G. Hall, rector of Old Donation suc- 
ceeded in establishing a new church in the more centrally located Kempsville. 
This church, called Emanuel, was completed in July, 1843 and consecrated by 
the Right Rev. William Meade, D. D., Bishop of Virginia. From 1877 until 
the present the records of Emanuel's service to its community are available. 
Its early records were burned during the war Between the States. The 
ministers of Emanuel also served Eastern Shore Chapel. Especially memorable 
in the county is the ministry of the Rev. W. R. Savage, who came to these 
churches in 1884. During the ten years he was here he established the mission 
for the Life Saving Station at Dam Neck. He restored Eastern Shore Chapel, 
which was in bad repair. He organized Church Aid Societies and edited and 
published a parish paper called "Lynnhaven Visitor." In 1943, the one 
hundredth anniversary of Emanuel Church was celebrated at Kempsville. 
Ninety days later a fire of unknown origin burned the church to the ground. 
The present church building was finally completed in 1947 and was dedicated 
by Bishop W. A. Brown.«» 

The earliest record of a dissenting group in Princess Anne County occurred 
in 1662. On the 29th day of December of that year a Lower Norfolk County 
Court record shows us that the Society of Friends had a meeting place. 
It reads: 

Whereas Coll John Sidney high Shreive for this County hath given infor- 
mation to this Cort that he uppon ye fifteenth day of this instant December 
beinge Sabbath day, did take divse psons wch were at an unlawfull meetinge 
wth those commonly called Quakers.*' 


The next year Richard Russell and a group of Friends were fined for 
violating the Act of Assembly and William Berkeley, Royal Governor of the 
Colony wrote the following letter to the gentlemen of the County of Lower 

Gentlemen I thanke you for yor care of ye County and desire you to con- 
tinue it, & Especially to pvide yt ye abominated seede of ye Quakers spread 
not in yor County which to prvent I think fitt to add these fower to the 
Commission vizt Mr. Addam Thurrowgood Mr. Wm Carver, Mr. Wm Daynes 
& Mr. Thomas ffulsher Mr. hail I heare is anncient. Once more I beseech 
you gent: to have an Exact care of this Pestilent sect of ye Quakers. 

Yor most affectionate frend 

William Berkeley^^ 

In the colonies as well as in England, the Quakers were persecuted. They 
were considered the extreme left wing of the English Reformation and be- 
tween 1650 and 1689 no fewer than 15,000 Quakers suffered death for their 

George Fox, founder of the Society of Friends, made his great personal 
discovery of the "Christ Within" in 1647. He had no plans for establishing 
a religion or of founding a sect. Others who had had similar experiences 
joined him and withdrew from the Church of England. Their persecution 
caused them to search for religious freedom in the new world. The Society of 
Friends became firmly established in southeastern Virginia and their church 
has been continuous in Nansemond County. There is a meeting house today 
on the site of Old Somerton Friends' Meeting House, which is about three 
miles southeast of Holland. 

Today there is a Society of Friends in Princess Anne County, which was 
organized by Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Wilson, who moved to Virginia Beach 
some years ago. Finding no Friends Meeting House in the county and missing 
their own religion, they decided in 1954 to hold a meeting in their home 
for their friends. Later other Quakers joined them and in several months they 
had a nucleus of twenty charter members who decided to work for a meeting 
house. With the help of the Society of Friends at Woodland, N. C, these 
people have built in colonial architecture a meeting house and elementary 
school on Laskin Road near Virginia Beach. The Friends' schools are noted 
for their excellence and the county is fortunate in having the use of their 

The Presbyterians came to Princess Anne County in the seventeenth cen- 
tury too. One of the buildings in the early Eastern Shore Settlement (of 
Lynnhaven River) may have been the first Presbyterian church in Virginia. 
This pioneer Presbyterian meeting house was on Edward Cooper's plantation 
at Great Neck and was registered in 1693 as a place of worship for dissenters 


from the Established Church. Services in this building, which stood near the 
first Eastern Shore Chapel and the courthouse, were held by the Rev. Josias 
Mackie, a Scotch-Irish parson from Donegal who had been dismissed as 
minister of Elizabeth River Parish in 1692 because of his non-conformist 
practices, as noted in Chapter X. Mr. Mackie also held services in a private 
house on the Eastern Branch of Elizabeth River in 1699.** 

Francis Doughty, who was called the father of British Presbyterianism in 
the Middle Colonies helped establish the church in Virginia between 1650 
and 1659. 

Scotch-Irish Presbyterianism is said to have been brought to America by 
an unknown Irish minister in 1668. Francis Makemie, an ordained minister 
of the presbytery of Laggan, came to the Virginia and Maryland colonies 
in 1683 and continued the work of Francis Doughty. According to one au- 
thority, "In 1684 he acted as pastor of an Irish church at Elizabeth River, 
Virginia."*^* It would be interesting to know more about the development 
of the Presbyterian church on Elizabeth River. 

While the first Baptist churches grew up in other parts of Virginia in the 
early eighteenth century, this denomination did not gain a foothold in this 
southeast corner of the State until well after mid-century, and then as a mis- 
sionary effort from North Carolina. The first Baptist Church in Princess Anne 
County — and the oldest one in the Lower Tidewater area — was the Pungo 
Baptist Church, constituted in 1762 as an off-shoot of a church in Camden County, 
North Carolina. Its first pastor was Elder James Gamewell, and it did not 
immediately acquire a meeting place of its own. By 1764, however, a meeting- 
house had been built: on 15 July of that year was recorded a deed whereby 
John Whitehurst, Jr., sold to the "Elders and Rulers of the Baptist Church 
at Pungo . . . one half acre ... on which the meeting-house now stands." 
In 1766, Elder George Plummer became its pastor, and after some periods 
of vacancy, he was followed in 1775 by Elder Joshua Lawrence. This church 
still worships on the same site after two centuries, though its original build- 
ing has long since been replaced and its name was changed in 1856 to Oak 
Grove Baptist Church. 

Princess Anne County has another pre-Revolutionary Baptist Church in the 
Blackwater Baptist Church. Constituted in 1774, it was an off-shoot of the 
Pungo Church; it was listed in a 1791 Register as being in Norfolk County. 
It is apparent that this was simply an error on the part of Asplund, the 
compiler, and the church is quite evidently on its original site north of 
Blackwater River ("Creek" as it was called in 1774). This stream is almost 
entirely in Princess Anne County. The church was served for some years by 
itinerant preachers, and obtained its first permanent leader in 1803 in the 
person of Elder William Sorey, who continued to labor there for twenty- 
seven years. 


Following the American Revolution, there was a great revival movement 
which swept the thirteen states; the Baptist Church made rapid growth and 
by 1800 there were 120,000 members of this faith in the United States. At 
this time in 1784, the Eastern Shore Baptist Church was established by Elders 
Daniel Gould and William Morris. There were fifty-five members and Morris 
was preacher for eighteen years. The first church building was a frame 
building with a low ceiling painted sky-blue to resemble heaven. This church 
established a mission in 1835 at Princess Anne Courthouse, which in 1856 
was constituted as St. John's Baptist Church. The Eastern Shore Church took 
its name from the old precinct of Lynnhaven Parish in which it was located, 
but before mid-nineteenth century was called London Bridge Baptist Church 
to distinguish it from the Anglican Eastern Shore Chapel of 1754. For many 
years the baptism of converts took place on the western shore of Linkhorn 
Bay, about a half a mile from the present Laskin Road. At one revival in 
1834 over a hundred people are said to have been baptised. The old church 
building was altered and repaired and survived until 1946 when fire de- 
stroyed it. In 1948 a large modern Church and Sunday School building was 
dedicated on the same site. Thus the old church started by the Baptists at 
London Bridge shortly after the Revolution continues to grow and influence 
the lives of those families who have worshipped in this village for nearly 
two hundred years. The fine new church now stands in the center of a rapidly 
growing community, a symbol to all of Christian fortitude against adversity.*^ 

The fourth oldest church of this denomination in the County is the Kemps- 
ville Baptist Church, which was constituted in 1814. 

Bishop Francis Asbury was the first bishop of the American Methodist 
Church and his work was responsible for the establishment of this church 
in America. He visited Princess Anne County before the Revolution in 
1771. Later in 1789 the first Methodist church was built by the people of 
the Backbay section. This was Charity Church, whose congregation is still a 
strong one in the lower county. Old Nimmo Church, a few miles to the 
east of Princess Anne Courthouse is also a very old church, built in 1791. 
Bishop Asbury visited Nimmo Church and preached there the first year it was 
built. Nimmo Church was famous for its camp meetings. In 1828, an old 
account says: "... Nimmo's a place famous especially for striking exhibitions 
of divine power and the conversion of sinners." In 1891, Nimmo Church 
celebrated its one hundredth birthday, and in honor of this occasion the con- 
gregation modernized the church and it is this Victorian-style building which 
we see today. This old cross-road church is an inspiration to those who just 
pass by it, as well as to its vigorous congregation.^® 

The Mennonite Church in Princess Anne County has established a large 
congregation since 1904 when they came here from Pennsylvania. There are 
five small churches in Princess Anne and Norfolk Counties. The Kempsville 


Amish Mennonite Church, the Providence Conservative Mennonite Church 
on Providence Road, in Princess Anne County and churches at Mount 
Pleasant, Deep Creek, and the smallest newest one at Norview, in Norfolk 

The sect is named after Menno Simons (1492-1559) of Friesland, North 
Holland, a leader influenced by the Protestant Reformation. They have no 
formal creed but believe in following the precepts of the New Testament as 
literally as possible. The religion flourished in Switzerland, Holland and Ger- 
many. Migrations of Mennonites to this country began in 1640. They were 
welcomed in Pennsylvania by William Penn's Quakers and have spread from 
Pennsylvania to Canada and other areas in the United States. 

They have remained farming people, retaining their plain 17th century 
dress and their precepts of piety and industry. The women wear special 
coverings over their heads to conform to the teaching of St. Paul, and the 
men wear coats without lapels and hooked to the neck. Both men and women 
wear clothing without adornment. Twice a year they observe the ordinances 
of the Lord's Supper and foot-washing. Their baptism, performed by sprink- 
ling, is reserved for adults. They maintain aloofness from governmental affairs 
and reject the taking of oaths. They do not like to have their pictures taken. 
Jacob Hershberger, a Mennonite leader who owns an interest in the Yoder 
Dairies at Kempsville says there are about three hundred and fifty Mennonites 
in the Kempsville area. These are called "Beachy" Mennonites, because of 
their branch founder. They use German in their service and the men wear 
chin beards. These people, while being non-resistant or conscientious objectors to 
war, have made their contribution to war-ravaged Europe. They have sent 
food and Christmas bundles again and again in wholesale lots. 

In March 1953, ten families of Amish Mennonites left Princess Anne 
County to settle in Macon County, Georgia. For the first time since Men- 
nonites first came to this area they have begun to emigrate. They feel the 
crowding of the area, which is becoming rapidly urbanized. A rural people, 
skilled in the farming arts, they seek to keep their close touch with the soil. 
Their children are growing up and need their own farms. There still remain 
in Princess Anne the main group, which has been growing and contributing 
to the agricultural progress of the county for fifty years. 

Judge Benjamin Dey White, in his pamphlet, Gleanings in the History of 
Princess Anne County gave a good introduction to the Civil War by describ- 
ing the local militia organization. He stated that prior to the War Between 
the States the county had six or eight companies of local militia, which com- 
posed the 20th Regiment. Wilson M. Bonney was Colonel, William T. Griggs, 
Lieutenant-Colonel, and John Hill, Major. The annual muster day was the 
big event of each year, the last being in I860. The muster and drill took 


place in a field near St. John's Baptist Church, within a short distance of 
Princess Anne Court House. 

The Seaboard Rifles was a volunteer state militia, formed at London 
Bridge, December 22, 1839. Mr. Carroll H. Walker, of Norfolk, has supplied 
the names of the original officers: Captain — George T. Rogers; First Lieut. — 
J. G. Cornick; Second Lieut. — George Teabault; Adjutant — James E. Land; 
First Sergeant — John Hunter, Jr.; Second Sergeant — ^Thomas J. Cornick; R. S. 
Whitehurst and T. C. Hunter were possibly third and fourth sergeants or 
first and second corporals. 

The roster of the officers and men of the Princess Anne Cavalry, Com- 
pany F, 15th Regiment is preserved and hangs on the right hand wall of the 
Clerk's Office at the Courthouse. Its officers were as follows: Captain — Wilson 
M. Bonney; later Captain — James Forbes Simpson; First Lieut. — Livingston 
Ingram; Second Lieut. — Nathaniel Brickhouse; Third Lieut. — Frank Old. 

Under the state law, at that time, all militia companies had to furnish 
their own uniforms and the state furnished the arms. Mr. Walker writes: 

It is my understanding that the state law regarding uniforms was amended 
in January, I860, permitting the state to furnish uniforms to all militia com- 
panies, and it is my further information that this was a dark blue uniform. 
Most outfits already in existence by January, I860, had their own uniforms, 
which were of their own design and choosing. 

The Princess Anne Cavalry was in command of John Fentress. Later other 
companies of infantry were organized and a company of artillery, which, at one 
time was stationed at the entrenched camp near Norfolk. The entrenched 
camp consisted of an elaborate system of breastworks, extending from Broad 
Creek through Ballentine Place, to Tanner's Creek, evidences of which are 
still in existence. To the east of the entrenched camp and about two miles 
distant, on what is now known as the Norfolk County Water Works Farm, 
was established a training camp, at which troops from various sections of the 
South were trained. This camp was called the "Alabama Camp" because of 
the fact that a great majority of the soldiers came from Alabama.*^ 

When the war began, the 6th Virginia Regiment was immediately or- 
ganized at Norfolk. It was composed mostly of companies in and around 
Norfolk. Shortly after the formation of this company the Seaboard Rifles 
was assigned to it and the company was known, from then on, as Company F. 
Later, in the fall of 1861, the 6th, 12th, l6th and 4lst Virginia Regiments 
were organized into a brigade, and, on November 16, 1861, Colonel William 
Mahone, who commanded the 6th Virginia, was promoted to Brigadier Gen- 
eral, and this was when Captain George T. Rogers, of the Seaboard Rifles 
(or Company F) was promoted to Major. In April, 1862, just prior to the 

Va. 2—7 


evacuation of Norfolk by the Confederates, the 6th Regiment was reorganized 
and Major Rogers was made Colonel of the regiment. 

The 6th Virginia participated in the Seven Days Battles (notably Malvern 
Hill), Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and 
Gettysburg. It fought through the whole campaign of 1864, taking part in 
the battles of Shady Grove, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Cold Harbor, North 
Anna River, Hanover Court House, Turkey Ridge, Second Frazier's Farm 
and the Crater (Petersburg), and it was also at Ream's Station, Burgess' 
Mill and Hatcher's Run. Colonel Rogers was its commanding officer when it 
surrendered at Appomattox. 

The flag of the Seaboard Rifles was preserved by the granddaughter of 
Col. George Rogers, Mrs. Lydia Roper and presented by her to the Norfolk 
Museum. The flag is surrounded with a dark blue border. The center is now 
cream color, but was probably white at one time. The lettering is gold and 
a sheaf of wheat is painted in natural colors. The lettering SEABOARD 
RIFLES is gold with blue shadows and the wreath around the lettering is 
green. The Seaboard Rifles, as Company F, is not to be confused with Com- 
pany F, also known as the Southern Guard, which was organized in Norfolk, 
on December 14, 1859, and which was one of the five Norfolk militia com- 
panies comprising the 54th Regiment of Virginia Militia. When it mustered 
into Confederate service in June, 1861, it became Company G. There was 
another company from Princess Anne County known as Company B, under 
Captain W. Carter Williams. It was later attached to the 6th Virginia 

After the evacuation of the Norfolk area in May 1862 by the Confederates, 
Princess Anne County had Federal garrisons stationed at Pungo Ferry, Kemps- 
ville, and Pleasure House Beach, and probably at other points. Frequent raids 
were made by detachments of these garrisons, several of which were led by 
a notorious negro named "Specs" Hodges, who afterwards represented the 
County in the General Assembly. The garrison at Pungo Ferry had a prison, 
and at one time had confined there Miss Nancy White, of Knott's Island, 
and also Mrs. Eugene Ballance, who was held as a hostage for a Federal 

During the Federal occupation the Cape Henry Lighthouse was set upon 
by Princess Anne County men and put out of commission, which was quite 
troublesome to the Union. 

Later on in the war, the beaching of the S. S. Maple Leaf must have 
brought rejoicing to this invaded area. Tliis Federal ship had left New 
Orleans with seventy Confederate officers as prisoners. After taking on 
twenty-six more officers at Norfolk, she was proceeding north via the Capes, 
when a well-organized mutiny of the prisoners was accomplished. Three of 
the Confederates engaged each sentinel on duty, joking and chatting with 


him. Another group waited until the relief guards had stacked their muskets, 
and still another group handled the crew. In a few minutes they had the ship. 
Colonel Witt and Major Semmes were the ranking officers of the mutiny 
and with Lieutenant Fuller, a Mississippi river-boat captain, advising them, 
they landed the S. S. Maple Leaf about ten miles south of Virginia Beach 
after nightfall and those prisoners who were able escaped from the ship. The 
ship was then returned to her Captain who steamed on his way. 

These men were now in enemy-held country and proceeded cautiously. A 
dimly lit farm house proved a temporary safe haven, for it was the home of 
the wife and daughter of a farmer who was fighting with the Confederate 
Army. The wife realized their danger and urged that they get to the Carolina 
swamp as soon as possible. There they found loyal Southerners of the Cur- 
rituck Sound boiling sea water for salt for the Army. One of these fishermen, 
turned guerrilla, led them to Richmond and safety. 

After the war, on the farms of Dr. I. N. Baxter, at Kempsville and 
Greenwich, were established large camps of freed Negroes. At Cool Spring, 
or RoUeston, the one time home of Governor Henry A. Wise, was established 
a Freedmen's Bureau.^* 

General Benjamin F. Butler, known throughout the South as "Beast 
Butler," in his autobiography, Butler's Book, stated: 

November 27 (1863), Colonel Draper, with the Sixth U.S. Colored 
Troups, made a successful raid into the counties lying in the sounds in Vir- 
ginia and North Carolina, capturing and dispersing organized guerillas. 

December 4, Brigadier Wilde, at the head of two regiments of colored 
troups, overran all the counties as far as Chowan River, releasing some two 
thousand slaves, and inflicting much damage upon the enemy. . . . 

The General voiced his disappointment in not being able to recruit 
"loyal" Virginians for the Federal Army. He wrote: 

The army being much in need of recruits, and Eastern Virginia claiming 
to be a fully organized loyal State, by permission of the President an enroll- 
ment of all the able-bodied loyal citizens of Virginia within my command 
was ordered for the purposes of a draft when one should be called for in 
other loyal States. This order was vigorously protested against by Governor 
Pierpont, and this was all the assistance the United States ever received from 
the loyal government of Virginia in defending the State. My predecessors in 
command had endeavored to recruit a regiment of loyal Virginians, but, after 
many months of energetic trial, both by them and by myself, the attempt was 
abandoned. A company and a half was all the recruits that State would fur- 
nish to the Union, and these were employed in defending the lighthouses and 
in protecting the loyal inhabitants from the outrages of their immediate 


The governor to whom General Butler refers, Francis H. Pierpont, was a 
native of Monongalia County, in what is now West Virginia. He was gov- 
ernor of the western counties, now composing the State of West Virginia, 
which refused to secede from the Union, with headquarters at Wheeling, and 
later at Alexandria City. He was recognized by the Federals as Governor 
of Virginia at the same time that Governors John Letcher (January 1, 1860- 
January 1, 1864) and William Smith (January 1, 1864-May 9, 1865) were 
the occupants of the Executive chair in Richmond. After the surrender at 
Appomattox, Governor Smith was replaced by Governor Pierpont who moved 
into Richmond, where he exercised the duties of the office of Governor of 
Virginia, until Henry H. Wells, provisional Governor, under military rule, 
was appointed to replace him.®** 

Further light is cast upon the references, by General Butler, to the "loyal 
government of Virginia," by Mr. Milton C. Russell, head of the Reference 
and Circulation Section of the Virginia State Library, at Richmond. He writes: 

Princess Anne County was one of the counties of Virginia excepted from 
the Emancipation Proclamation, but not because of cooperation with the 
Federal troups which occupied the coastal area. 

The second Congressional district, which was composed of Brunswick, 
Dinwiddie, Greensville, Isle of Wight, Nansemond, Norfolk, Princess Anne, 
Prince George, Southhampton, Surry and Sussex, did not have representation 
in the U. S. Congress during the Civil War period. Lucius J. Chandler claimed 
to have been elected to represent this district on the fourth Thursday in May, 
1863. He presented credentials but was declared not entitled to a seat by 
resolution of May 17, 1864. He was allowed mileage and pay to the date of 
the adoption of the resolution. A lengthy speech he made in support of his 
claim and the proceedings of the House of Representatives in his case are 
recorded in The Congressional Globe for May 17, 1864. 

It would be unfair to cite individual heroism, involving one or two Con- 
federate soldiers, when most of the men and boys of Princess Anne fought 
heroically through the entire war. They slipped through the Federal lines to 
come home and plow and then slipped back to the Confederate lines. 

Agriculture in Princess Anne County began at a very early date, as the 
Indians were growing corn when the first white men arrived.^^ From the 
standpoint of acreage, corn has continued to be the most important crop for 
more than three hundred years. The first farming was done on the well- 
drained sandy land bordering Lynnhaven, the Eastern Branch of Elizabeth 
River, Back Bay and the ridge now known as Pungo Ridge, which traverses 
the central part of the county. A great many houses of pre-Revolutionary War 
time are still standing in these sections. The development of other areas de- 
pended upon open drainage ditches being dug. 

Early agriculture consisted of raising corn, wheat, and livestock for sub- 


sistence and tobacco as a cash crop. In recent years the growing of vegetables 
such as potatoes, sweet-potatoes, and green vegetables (spinach, kale, etc.) 
along with strawberries and dairying has received special emphasis. Rapid 
transportation has been responsible for this change and for the success of 
this so-called truck farming. 

Just a little over a hundred years ago, in November of 1852, there was 
held in the charming town of Kempsville the first Agricultural Fair of Eastern 
Virginia. This was sponsored by the Agricultural Society of Princess Anne 
County. The Norfolk newspaper, The Daily Southern Argus, reported the 
affair. From its yellowed pages we are given a description of the fair grounds. 
There was a track a quarter of a mile around on which horses, cattle and 
livestock were displayed. Due to a heavy rain the night before the exposition 
opened, the track was unusable. There was some confusion in the displaying 
of the prize animals, but we read that fine and superior horses, mules, cows, 
bulls, hogs, sheep and poultry were shown. In a shed forty feet long, vege- 
tables were displayed. On the fair grounds was a house sixty feet long for 
the showing of dairy products and various branches of "Domestic Economy." 
Here were quilts, fancy work, preserves, honey, knit socks, homemade soap 
and homespun woolen cloth. There was an exhibit of an improved system 
of cutting dresses. A long and detailed list of prizes won by the ladies was 
printed. Mrs. Henry Brock won $2.00 for "the best piece of hand woven 
woolen cloth for servants." Mrs. A. Walke got the prize for the best home- 
made soap. And lest we think flower arrangements are a recent innovation, 
Mrs. Anne Walke won $1.00 for the best bouquet. Captain John Cornick 
was given the grand prize for the best conducted farm in the county. Mr. 
E. H. Herbert, who was president of the Princess Anne Agricultural Society 
introduced the speaker, the Hon. F. Mallory, a prominent citizen of Norfolk 
and a member of the Norfolk Council. Mr. Mallory spoke for one hour. 
Mr. Herbert also had the honor of winning the plowing contest, which was 
held in a nearby field. Norfolk must have been well represented at this 
Kempsville Fair, for in this same newspaper is a paid advertisement which 

William Sale announces to the citizens of Norfolk that his special omni- 
bus, propelled by three horses, will leave at the head of Market Square this 
and tomorrow morning for Kempsville at 9 a.m. $1 fare to go and return. 

The ladies of Princess Anne served a feast, the proceeds of which were 
to help rebuild and renovate Old Donation Church. 
The Argus continued: 

Old Donation Church, is a venerable relic of the olden times, at whose 
altar those who preceded us in past days used to offer up their adoration to 
the throne of the Most High. 


The Argus further said: 

While the fair had been looked on by some as a doubtful experiment it 
far exceeded public expectations and there was cause for rejoicing on the part 
of the young agricultural society. It proves that the farmers in this section 
have the spirit and the means to present as good a fair as any in the land.'-'- 

This county continued to develop as an agricultural area for three hundred 
years. However, since 1930 there has been a change in the whole character 
of the county and its rural aspects will soon be hard to find. 

In 1930, the families of the county were by and large the descendants of 
the pre-Revolutionary colonists. There were no large industries in the area 
and farming had changed very little. Dairying had developed as a profitable 
business due to the growth of nearby Norfolk. Turkey-raising in the Pungo 
section became a specialized industry, in addition to the chickens raised 
generally by most farmers. Nowadays the Princess Anne turkey, like the 
Lynnhaven oyster, is a much-sought-after local product. Many men worked 
part or full-time fishing, oystering, and crabbing. The oysters from Lynnhaven 
were famous and much in demand. Lumbering furnished full-time employ- 
ment to loggers and added to the farmers' incomes. This lumbering was done 
in portable mills and there were no large sawmills. There were brickyards at 
Oceana and Lynnhaven Village. 

As Virginia Beach grew into a large popular resort town and transporta- 
tion from Norfolk to Virginia Beach improved, Norfolk residents were 
attracted to the pleasant land around the Lynnhaven River. Next, the rapid 
growth of the city of Norfolk, which is confined on three of its sides by 
water, created a giant demand for housing. Princess Anne County supplied 
the land and nationally known developers, as well as many carpenters- 
turned-contractors, have changed the long time rural county. In 1958 Princess 
Anne County is listed with 692 farms, compared with 1,432 farms in 1900 
and 1,180 in 1930. 

This process of change has also been accelerated by the enlargement of 
the Army Post at Fort Story, where coastal defense and transportation tech- 
niques are taught. The development of this post is described in the following 
chapter on Virginia Beach. 

The United States Navy also has large installations in Princess Anne 
County. The Amphibious Base at Little Creek, the Naval Air Station at 
Oceana and the Fleet Air Defense Training Center at Dam Neck have all 
influenced the changes in Princess Anne, economically as well as in many 
other ways. In April 1942, the United States Navy started the Amphibious 
Training Base at Little Creek.'''' The building program was an accelerated one, 
starting with a water-logged bean field on one of the Whitehurst farms. 
Buildings were completed at a rate of five a day. New methods and tech- 


niques in landing were developed here for the assault of enemy lands. There 
was mud and confusion and military urgenq^. The Amphibious Training 
Command, U. S. Atlantic Fleet, was officially operating August 1, 1943. At 
that time the Naval Amphibious Training Base, Little Creek, trained crews 
for LSM (Landing Ships Medium), LCV (Landing Craft Vehicles) and 
other amphibious vessels. The Naval Frontier Base, Little Creek, was a for- 
warding depot for personnel and supplies in the Mediterranean and European 
Theaters of Operation. Camp Bradford, Little Creek, trained crews for the 
LST (Landing Ships Tank). Also, located at Little Creek was an Armed 
Guard School commissioned on October 15, 1941. Its purpose was the training 
of officers and enlisted men to man gun crews aboard merchant ships. In 
1943 an Armed Guard Center was commissioned at Camp Shelton. 

During the Second World War, the Command trained over 200,000 Naval 
and 160,000 Army and Marine personnel. The Armed Guard Center trained 
approximately 6500 officers and 115,000 enlisted men. When this war was 
over the Command was deactivated and the United States Naval Amphibious 
Base was created. The Amphibious Training Base became Annex I, the 
Frontier Base became Annex II, Camps Bradford and Shelton became An- 
nex III. These bases cover 1,800 acres of land and 4,000 yards of Chesapeake 
Bay beach which affords the surf and hydrographic conditions necessary for 
amphibious training. Some 20,000 men train at the United States Naval 
Amphibious Base each year. These men come from all branches of our armed 
forces. Midshipmen, Marines, Naval Reserves from fifty-two colleges, and 
military students from many foreign nations. The temporary character of the 
early base has been completely changed since 1951, when Congress allocated 
money for developing and improving the facilities. With the completion of 
its present building program the Amphibious Base at Little Creek will be 
the largest of its kind in the world. 

Just south of Virginia Beach is The Fleet Air Defense Training Center, 
called Dam Neck. The Center was named for the Life Saving Station estab- 
lished here in the late nineteenth century on the then very lonely beach near 
the two-post type grain windmills, called Dam Neck Mills. The Center was 
first organized under Captain Paul D. Gallery, as an anti-aircraft school at 
the beginning of World War II. In its early days a carrier aircraft training 
unit and a Bureau of Ordnance test center operated at Dam Neck."^ Built 
quickly and enlarged quickly after the Korean War the Training Center has 
since been rebuilt in a spic and span, orderly manner, typical of a Navy 
installation. The 1,067-acre center trains Atlantic Fleet personnel in the 
firing of gun-control radar as well as long-range detection radar and is the 
first such two-purpose facility in the Navy. Another smaller gunnery training 
center is located near San Diego, but does not include the "live" firing of 
guns. The military complement of the station in 1958 is about 300 enlisted 


men and 35 officers. These men train recruits at a rate of about a thousand 
a week. Included in the station personnel are Marines who instruct at a 
small-arms range and Navy instructors who maintain a guided-missile school. 
The dual mission of Dam Neck came into being at the insistence of the late 
Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, Chief of Naval Operations. He urged in 1948, 
that single centers be created to instruct not only in the teamwork of shooting 
guns, but the operation of long range radar, the tracking of planes and 
their control. 

In order to prepare crews for battle duty, the U.S.F.A.D.T.C. reproduces 
actual shipboard equipment conditions. This indoctrination is necessary to 
avoid the destructive and ineffective results of throwing an unseasoned recruit 
into actual battle conditions. The noise alone is just one factor which requires 
considerable adjustment. Conducting anti-aircraft exercises afloat would be 
too expensive in man hours and money to be efficient. Most any day of the 
week when weather is clear the firing of Dam Neck guns, which range from 
20 mm to 5 inchers can be heard in that area. It provides shore base training 
for fleet personnel in all aspects of the defense of the fleet against enemy 
aircraft. This is the Navy's answer to Atlantic Fleet Air Defense Training. 

Between the villages of Oceana and Princess Anne Courthouse there stretch 
about five thousand acres of farm land on which the Oceana Air Station has 
grown up like a third village. Oceana Air Station got its start as early as 
1938, when an investigation was launched as to the possibilities of building 
an Auxiliary landing field in this area.^^ After three years of study and 
negotiations, construction was started in the early part of 1941 and for the 
most part consisted of sand asphalt runways 2,500 feet in length and a single 
wood structure which served as an ambulance garage and caretakers' building. 
After Pearl Harbor, construction was stepped up and better facilities com- 
mensurate with requirements of a Naval Auxiliary Air Station were started. 
The Station was commissioned on August 17, 1943, and continued in an 
active status during World War II and the Korean War. In 1950 a program 
of expansion was started. Four concrete runways were expanded to 8,000 feet, 
and in 1951 contracts were awarded incidental to the preparation of master 
plans for the development of a Master Jet Base. The station was designated 
a Naval Air Station on April 1, 1952, and construction has continued to the 
present and plans are working for its future enlargement. The Master Jet 
Base, called Oceana, now has its own Auxiliary field at Fentress, Virginia, 
where the Navy jets are put through their paces, and their pilots learn the 
split second timing needed to fly missions today and tomorrow. The field at 
the Naval Air Station, Oceana was dedicated in June, 1957 and named for 
Vice Admiral Apollo Sousek, U. S. N. 

Princess Anne County has a great heritage which can give meaning and 
perspective to the lives of her many new inhabitants. These people have come 


from all lands and many walks of life to make their homes in Princess Anne 
County and if the history of the county's early new inhabitants is properly 
brought to their attention they will realize that the history of the United States 
has been lived dramatically on their land since the first landing at Cape 
Henry in 1607. 

It is a feeling of great satisfaction to note that we live where so much 
of our country's history has been wrought, but there should also be a strong 
feeling of responsibility. The county is changing fast, and soon the decisions 
of today will be history of tomorrow. It is to be hoped that a knowledge of 
Princess Anne County's past will help her citizens of today accept this re- 
sponsibility and ensure the quality of their decisions. 

Editoi-'s Note 

As has been done before, we shall tell a little more about the well-known 
names which have contributed their share of the country's history. In an 
earlier chapter, we told of the third generation of Thorowgoods: Argall, John 
and Adam (III), sons of Col. Adam II. Argall Thorowgood (d. 1699) 
was married to Elizabeth daughter of Adam Keeling, and inherited the 
plantation whose manor house, built about 1636, has disappeared. Col. John 
Thorowgood (I, d. 1701) was married to Margaret daughter to Anthony 
Lawson, and inherited the other Thorowgood house which is still standing; 
his son John (II) was married to Pembroke daughter of Charles Sayer, and 
their son John (III) lived until 1786. Adam Thorowgood (III) was a County 
Justice in 1701. William and Elizabeth, son and daughter of Argall Thorow- 
good, married sister and brother Elizabeth and James, daughter and son of 
James Nimmo of Shenstone Green, another prominent county name. William 
Thorowgood was last owner of the manor plantation, and at his death in 
1780 left it to his sister's son, William Thorowgood Nimmo.*^ 

It does not appear that any member of the numerous WiUoughby clan 
ever became prominently connected with the life of Princess Anne. As for 
the Masons, it is not known what connection there was (if any) between 
Robert Mason of Pungo (d. 1753) and his son James and the prominent 
family in Mason's Creek. However, Col. Lemuel Mason's other two daughters* 
married gentlemen from Princess Anne. Mary Mason was wife of Christopher 
Cocke, County Clerk from 1700 to 1716, and Dinah Mason married a Thorow- 
good, possibly a younger son of Col. Adam (11).*^ 

As to Thelaballs and Langleys, they were primarily Norfolk County 
families but a few of them settled in Princess Anne. Mary Thelaball was 
married to William Chichester, and as previously noted was forewoman of the 

* In Chapter XII, we told of Frances Mason, who married Newton and Sayer, and of Alice 
Mason, who married Porten and Boush. 


jury which sat in the Alice Cartrite witchcraft case in January 1678/9. Two 
sons and a daughter of Capt. William Langley (II) lived in Princess Anne: 
James Langley (d. 1731) had two daughters, Anne who married Dr. George 
Rouviere, and Frances, who married Edward Land; Jacob Langley (d. 1740) 
had no known descendants; and Joyce Langley was married to John Wishard 
(II) as will be noted below. Thomas Langley of the fourth generation* 
settled in Princess Anne; his wife was Bridget and his two sons Thomas (d. 
1784) and Willis (d. 1806) had no known descendants. He had a daughter 
Mary, and a daughter Elizabeth who married a Land.®^ 

Of the four sons of James Wishard (Wichard) — James, John, William 
and Thomas — only John did not settle in Princess Anne as noted in a previ- 
ous chapter. James Wishard (II) — who died in 1718 — had four daughters 
and two sons, John and Jacob Johnson Wishard, a mariner of Norfolk 
Borough; nothing further is known of his descendants, but the name of the 
second son gives a clue to his mother's family. William Wishard (d. 1736) 
was not married. The youngest son Thomas Wishard (d. 1729) was married 
to Mary daughter of James Kempe (I) as previously noted; they had two 
daughters and five sons: Thomas, George, William, John and James. James 
headed a large branch in Accomack County; William (d. 1730) was a mariner 
of Norfolk Borough; George (d. 1766) was Sheriff and Vestryman, and 
had (among others) Francis and George, who had no issue, and daughters 
Ann and Dinah who married respectively Captain William Keeling and 
Cornelius Calvert, Jr.; Thomas Wishart II died in 1772 (this branch leans 
toward that spelling), and had two sons. Col. William Wishart, County 
Lieutenant, and Lieutenant Thomas Wishart of the Fifteenth Regiment, 
Virginia Continental Line, who lived successively in the old house described 
in chapter X until the latter sold it in 1795 to William Boush; John Wishard 
or Wichard (this branch leans toward the original spelling) was married 
to Frances daughter of William Hancock, was Justice in 1733 and Sheriff 
1738, and died in 1739. He left an only son John Wishard or Wichard who 
was married to Joyce, daughter to William Langley II and widow of Lemuel 
Thelaball; he removed in 1730 to what later became Pitt County, North 
Carolina, where — as John Whichard, Sr. — he became progenitor of that fam- 
ily, dying in 1772. A branch of this family, headed by John Whichard, Jr. 
(d. 1795) lived in Princess Anne until it disappeared with the death of 
David Whichard in 1849.'* 

The connection among Kempes, Hancocks and Wishards was mentioned 
in Chapter X. The younger James Kempe married Mary Hancock; Mary, his 
sister, married Thomas Wishard; their brother George Kempe married Mary 

* Son of Capt. Lemuel Langley (d. 1748), grandson of Thomas Langley (d. 1717), great- 
grandson of William Langley (I) who died in 1676. 


daughter of the second Lancaster Lovett; John Wishard (d. 1739) married 
Frances sister of Mary Hancock mentioned above. After four Lancaster 
Lovetts in direct hne, this family had two branches, for the fourth Lancaster 
(d. 1752) had two sons, John Lovett (d. 1810) and Thomas Lovett (d. 
1790). The latter was father of Reuben Lovett (1765-1819), whose daughter 
Amy married William Whitehurst. Elizabeth, daughter of William and Amy 
Whitehurst, married Jonathan W. Old (1816-1876), and their son William 
Whitehurst Old (1840-1911) married Alice Herbert. The Olds have been 
here for a long time: Edward Old owned land in Princess Anne in 1680, 
Thomas Old, Sr., was vestryman in 1779, and Jonathan W. Old's father was 
named Kedar Old. Mrs. W. W. Old's father was Edward Henry Herbert (d. 
1862) of Level Green in the eastern part of the county near the Eastern 
Branch of Elizabeth River.'"" 

In Chapter XII we told of Samuel Boush who became prominent in Nor- 
folk Town. He had a brother Maximilian Boush (II) who was married to 
Elizabeth, daughter to Major James Wilson; they were parents of Frederick 
Boush of Kempsville and of Elizabeth who married Gershom Nimmo, the 
surveyor. Frederick's son was William Boush (1759-1854), who purchased 
the Wishard House from Lieut. Thomas Wishart in 1795. William Boush was 
father of William, Jr. (1791-1816) and of Elizabeth Boush (1802-1884) who 
married David Walke (1800-1854). William Boush and his wife Mary (1764- 
1822), William, Jr., and Elizabeth Boush Walke are all buried in a plot 
near the Wishard House; David Walke's tomb is in the churchyard at 
Lynnhaven Parish Church (Old Donation).'"' 

Nashes — like Willoughbys, Masons, Langleys and Thelaballs — were pri- 
marily of Norfolk County. However one of its number lived in Princess Anne, 
and that was John Leroy Nash (b. 1840). He was son of Richard Nash 
(1803-1855) of Norfolk County and brother of Colonel C. A. Nash of Nor- 
folk. John L. Nash was a trooper of Company I, 15th Virginia Cavalry, 
C.S.A., enlisted at ' Lynnhaven Beach" in 1861, and served to the end of 
the war, being surrendered by General Lee and paroled at Appomattox, 
9 April 1865. He lived in Kempsville after the war, and was married to 
Columbia Thomson in 1866. Columbia Thomson Nash was daughter of 
Francis R. Thomson (1804-1879) and granddaughter of William Thomson 
who was married to Ann Ottley in 1803. Two of the sons of John L. and 
Columbia Thomson Nash were Dr. Leroy Thomson Nash and Francis 
Fitzhugh Nash, both of Norfolk.'"- 

There is little that needs to be added to what has already been given 
on Moseleys and Walkes. Col. Edward Moseley had a son Hillary who 
married Hannah Hack; their son Edward Hack Moseley was Justice, Church- 
warden and a Tory, if we may judge from the fact that he was entertained 
by Brigadier-General Benedict Arnold when the latter was in command at 


Portsmouth in 1781. Edward Hack Moseley, Jr., was not a Tory; he served 
as Clerk of the County Court from 1771 to 1814. The third Anthony Walke 
was an Episcopal minister, ordained in 1788, and served Lynnhaven Parish 
until 1800. His half-brother William Walke inherited the Norfolk property 
of his grandfather, Anthony Walke I (d. 1768) as noted in the chapters on 
the town and borough of Norfolk. William's mother was Mary, daughter to 
Edward Hack Moseley, who married the second Anthony Walke in 1757.^"^ 

A short note to be added on Woodhouses and Lawsons: the first Henry 
Woodhouse was vestryman in Lynnhaven in 1640, and 256 years later in 
1896, three of his descendants were still active churchmen; they were Judge 
John J. Woodhouse, Major John T. Woodhouse and Mr. Jonathan Wood- 
house. Dr. Robert Woodhouse now lives at Virginia Beach, where he has 
rendered outstanding service. One of the most prominent members of the 
Lawson family was Dr. Thomas Lawson. Appointed Garrison Surgeon's Mate 
in 1811, he rose to the office of Surgeon General, U. S. Army, in 1836 with 
the rank of Colonel. He was appointed Brevet Brigadier General in 1848 for 
meritorious conduct in the War with Mexico, and remained Surgeon General 
(with permanent rank of Colonel) until his death in Norfolk in 1861.'"'' 

In a previous chapter, we told of the immediate descendants of William 
Cornick (d. 1700), County Justice in 1691. His son Joel Cornick (d. 1727) 
built the interesting old house at Salisbury Plain south of Oceana. Two of 
Joel's sons bore the poetic names of Endymion and Nimrod! Joel Cornick 
was also the probable donor of the land on which was built the second 
Eastern Shore Chapel just south of his home in 1724. The third Chapel 
(second on this site), which was completed in 1754, had to be removed in 
recent years to make room for the landing of the Navy jet planes. Another 
branch of this family was headed by Lemuel Cornick I (d. 1773) who in 
about 1770 built the lovely Georgian mansion on Broad Bay, now the home 
of the family of the late John B. Dey. It is noteworthy that descendants of 
the Cornick family are still connected actively with the Eastern Shore Chapel. 
Louis Carter Cornick, his wife and son are respectively layreader, organist 
and crucifer there, over two hundred and thirty years after Joel Cornick gave 
the land for its original site."® 

Thomas Keeling (II), third generation here and probable builder of the 
house at "Dudlies," died in 1714, leaving three sons, of whom William mar- 
ried Ann daughter of Sheriff George Wishart, and the eldest Adam (d. 1771) 
owned "Dudlies" which he bequeathed to his son Thomas. The latter had 
a son Adam (d. 1805), who left two sons Adam and Solomon. This was the 
fifth Adam (Thomas II had a brother Adam), and Mr. Solomon Keeling was 
the one who related to Bishop Meade the tradition of the opening of Lynn- 
haven Inlet and the disappearance of the first Lynnhaven Parish Church plot."" 

The late Judge Benjamin Dey White of the County Circuit Court, whose 


valuable writings on local history have been frequently quoted in these pages, 
was descended through his mother from the Dey family. While not an "old 
county family" in the same sense as were (for example) Thorowgoods, 
Walkes or Moseleys, the name of Dey has acquired some prominence and 
respectability in the slightly more than a century and a half that it has been 
established here. Lewis Dev (1758-1816), a veteran of Monmouth and 
Staten Island, came to Princess Anne shortly after 1790 accompanied by his 
son William B. Dey (1780-1832). The latter had eleven sons, six of whom 
grew up to raise families. The fourth of these six was Benjamin S. Dey, 
grandfather of Judge White and also of the late John B. Dey ot Broad Bay 
Manor, formerly of the House of Delegates, the County Board of Supervisors 
and the County School Board. Other descendants of William B. Dey made 
a name for themselves in Norfolk, as was mentioned in Chapter XV; they 
were his sons Lewis C. and William, and the latter's son George W. Dey. 
Lewis Dey was born in Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey, and was 
descended from Laurens Duyts (i.e. "the Dutchman") of New Harlem in 
1639, who died in Bergen, New Jersey, in 1668. The intervening generations 
were Hans Laurens (b. 1644), James Hance or James Dey (1671-1745), 
James Dey (1706-1784), and James Dey (b. 1728); the latter was married 
to his first cousin Margaret Perrine of an old Jersey Huguenot family. A 
distant connection of Lewis Dey was Col. Theunis Dey whose mansion at 
Preakness was Washington's headquarters for a time during the New Jersey 
Campaign. An earlier Theunis Dey (b. 1656) owned the land in New York 
City through which present Dey Street was laid out in 1750.'"^ 

Notes on Chapter XX 
N.B. See remark at beginning of Chapter I notes. 

1. Kellam, Princess Anne, p. 202. 

2. Ibid., p. 155. 

3. 3N53. 

4. 2N152, 4N36. 

5. 1N56. 

6. 1N20. 

7. 2N88-93, 2N139-40, 3N34-37, 3N52; unless otherwise noted, these references contain sources 
of Sherwood witchcraft trials. 

8. Kyle, "Country Woman's Scrapbook," Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 26 Oct. 1952. 

9. 3N55. 

9a. Agnes White Thomas, in Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 28 April 1957. 

10. Princess Anne County Order Book 1691-1709, p. 87. 

11. Ibid., p. 119. 

12. Princess Anne County Loose Papers, 1760-61, Book A2, Virginia State Library, Richmond. 
12a. Kellam, op. cit., p. 164, 

13. Williams, Pirates, pp. 73-74. 

14. Fontaine, Huguenot Family, p. 283. 


15. Kyle, op. cit., 18 Oct. 1953. 

16. Ibid., 12 Dec. 1954. 

17. Kellam, op. cit., p. 167. 

18. Mrs. P. A. Bruce, "Down in Lynnliaven," Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch. A Apr., 3 M.iy 1924. 

19. Kyle, op. cit., 16 Jan. 1956. 

20. Fontaine, op. cit., p. 288. 

21. Kyle, op. cit., 20 July 1952, 6 Dec. 1953. 

22. Ibid., 8 Feb. 1953; Kellam, op. cit., pp. 199, 223-4. 

23. Kyle, op. cit., 29 Sept. 1957. 

24. Mason, Lynnharen Vestryhook, p. 119- 

25. 2N37. 

26. Kyle & Syer in National Horticultural Magazine, January 1958. 

27. Mason, Colonial Churches Tidewater, p. l42. 

28. B. D. White, Gleanings Princess Anne History. 

29. Loc. cit. 

30. Kyle, "Country Woman's Scrapbook," Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 18 Sept. 1955. 

31. W. H. Stewart, History of Norfolk County, p. 35. 

32. 1N46. 

33. Stewart, op. cit., p. 35. 

34. Ibid., p. 36. 

35. Ibid., p. 37. 

36. 1N60. 

37. Howe, Historical Collections, p. 438. 

38. 14V248. 

39. Stewart, op. cit., pp. 43-45. 

40. 1N50. 

41. 1N46-47. 

42. Howe, op. cit., pp. 438-9. 

43. Stewart, op. cit., p. 37. 

44. 2C472. 

45. Stewart, op. cit., pp. 51-52. 

46. Creecy, Virginia Antiquary, I, 169- 

47. Kyle, op. cit., 18 Sept. 1955. 

48. Kellam, op. cit., p. 184. 

49. 2N133. 

50. B. D. White, op. cit. 

51. 10C184. 

52. Kyle, op. cit.. 11 March 1956. 

53. 2N84. 

54. Princess Anne County Records, Book 1 (part 2), p. 292. 

55. Mason, Colonial Churches Tidewater, p. 142. 

56. Ibid., p. 147. 

57. 5N28. 

58. Mason, op. cit., p. 137. 

59. Princess Anne County Deeds (1691-1708), I, 195. 

60. Ibid., p. 68. 

61. Mason, Lynnhaven Vestrybook, p. 17. 

62. Ibid., p. 18. 

63. Ibid., p. 21. 

64. Meade, Old Churches, I, 249. 

65. Mason, op. cit., p. xvii. 

66. Ibid., p. 21. 

67. Ibid., p. 85. 

68. Ibid., p. XXV. 

69. Kyle, op. cit., 16 Aug. 1953. 

70. Mason, Colonial Churches Tidewater, p. 143. 

71. Lower Norfolk County Records (1686-1695), Book 5, p. 146. 

72. Mason, Lynnhaven Vestrybook, p. 3. 

73. Kyle, op. cit., 14 March 1954. 

74. Ibid.. 6 Nov. 1955. 


75. Ibid.. 9 Nov. 1952. 

16. 5VI0. 

77. 1N65. 

78. Mason, op. cit., p. 28. 

79. Mason, Colonial Churches Tidewater, p. 146. 

80. Kyle, op. cit., 2 Oct. 1955. 

81. 3N142. 

82. 4N78. 

83. Mason, op. cit., p. 149. 
83a. 22 Enc. Brit. 291. 

84. Mason, op. cit.. p. 149. 

85. Kyle, op. cit.. 1 Mar. 1953. 

86. Ibid., 31 Aug. 1952. 

87. B. D. White, op. cit. 

88. Loc. cit. 

89. Butler's Book, pp. 617-8. 

90. McDonald, Life in Old Virginia, pp. 371-2. 

91. Soil Survey, Princess Anne County, p. 8. 

92. Kyle, op. cit., 23 Nov. 1952. 

93. PIO, U. S. Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia. 

94. PIO, Fleet Air Defense Training Center. Dam Neck, Va. 

95. PIO, U. S. Naval Air Station, Oceana, Va. 

96. Kellam, op. cit., pp. 37-45. 

97. Ibid., p. 115; Norfolk County Records, Book 17, p. 117. 

98. 3N138-146; 19W(l)195ff. 

99. Lower Norfolk County Records, Princess Anne County Records, Beaufort and Pitt Counties 
(N. C.) Records, passim; extracts in possession of R. D. W. much too numerous to quote 

100. Kellam, op. cit., pp. 84-5, 132-4, 153, 204-6, 222. 

101. Ibid., pp. 49, 52-3. 

102. See Chapter IV; also Adjutant General's Office Records and family Bible records in pos- 
session of R. D. W. 

103. Kellam, op. cit., pp. 131, 177-8. 

104. Ibid., pp. 87-8; 226. 

105. Ibid., pp. 106-111. 

106. Ibid., pp. 57-60; see also Note 62, Chapter X. 

107. Riker, History of Harlem, passim; New Jersey Archives, passim; Princess Anne County 
Records; extracts in possession of R. D. W. much too numerous to quote here. 

Chapter XXI 

The Town and City of Virginia Beach 

By Katharine Fontaine Syer 

VIRGINIA BEACH MEANS sunshine and surf and summer fun to a 
great many people; to many others it is a home town, growing 
fast and quite cosmopolitan. 

Its history as a town starts in 1880 when a club house was built on the 
ocean front at what is now 17th Street.^ A group of sportsmen from Norfolk 
used it for a hunting and fishing lodge. They drove from Norfolk in horse- 
drawn vehicles and the road twisted and turned following old paths which 
attempted to avoid the many estuary branches between Norfolk and the ocean. 

The members of this club were Norfolk business men and they successfully 
promoted adequate transportation to the beach. This idea of developing a 
Virginia resort similar to New Jersey's Atlantic City had been talked of for 
many years, but the War for Southern Independence had left Norfolk finan- 
cially unable to undertake such a promotion. In 1883 with the help of northern 
capitalists a corporation known as the Norfolk and Virginia Beach Railroad 
and Improvement Company began to build both a railroad and an elaborate 
hotel. The narrow gauge railroad connected Norfolk and the old Princess 
Anne Hotel on the ocean front at what is now Sixteenth Street. Both were 
completed in 1887 and Virginia Beach was born. 

In those days the railroad ran only as far as Broad Creek and visitors 
to the resort boarded a steamer at the foot of East Main Street in Norfolk, 
which carried them up the Elizabeth River to the terminal on Broad Creek. 
The entire trip by boat and train took over an hour and the fare was fifty 

In about 1900 this road was changed to standard gauge and a trestle 
built across Broad Creek so that passengers went all the way into Norfolk 
on the train. The ownership of the railroad and the hotel had changed hands 
several times and in 1900 the railroad was taken over by The Norfolk and 

In 1902 the Chesapeake Transit Company built a competing road to 
Virginia Beach via Cape Henry and operated the first electric street cars to 
the resort. In a few years the Norfolk and Southern was able to buy the 

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electric line and to electrify its own trains so that a transportation loop was 
formed running from Norfolk through both Virginia Beach and Cape Henry 
and then back to town. This was a favorite street car ride on Sunday after- 
noons in the days before the automobile took over. Steam engines and electric 
coaches used the same roadbed. 

The grand hotel, the Old Princess Anne, stood on the waterfront between 
15th and I6th Streets. It was steam heated and had elevator service. Wealthy 
northern families used it as a winter resort and the beach was advertised as 
such. The hotel was elegant and luxurious in the manner of hotels of the 
gay nineties and it was a mecca for honeymooners. It set a pattern for the 
great resort that Virginia Beach has become. 

The original acres purchased by the development company were divided 
into lots and many Norfolk people built cottages for use in summer. By 1889 
there were fourteen cottages and another smaller hotel, the Ocean View. 

The late Bishop Beverly D. Tucker held the first church services at 
Virginia Beach in his cottage and later raised funds for an inter-denomina- 
tional church called Galilee Chapel By the Sea. This building later became 
an Episcopal Church. When a new Galilee Church was built on the ocean 
front and 18th Street in 1926, the chapel was moved to the back of the lot 
and named Tucker Hall. This past year, 1957, Galilee Episcopal Church 
completed a new church and parish house near the Cavalier Hotel to meet 
the needs of its large congregation. Over the years other congregations have 
assembled and other houses of worship have been built, until most of the 
major religious denominations and sects are now represented here. The most 
important of them are Temple Emanuel, Star of the Sea (Roman Catholic), 
Virginia Beach Methodist, the Good Shepherd (Lutheran), First Presbyterian, 
First Baptist and Friends Meeting. 

The first brick house to be built at Virginia Beach was built in 1895 by 
Mr. B. F. Holland for his bride. Mr. Holland had come to Virginia Beach 
in 1886 and when the town was incorporated in 1906, Mr. Holland was the 
first mayor. This brick house was sold in 1909 to the deWitt family who 
have lived in it for a half a century. The house is a landmark on the ocean 
front at 10th Street. 

By 1906, a great many people were living in the town of Virginia Beach 
the year around. The first school was held in a building on l4th Street which 
also housed the Town Hall and the jail. This was an ungraded school and 
was taught by Mrs. Willet. The Willoughby T. Cooke School, which is now 
used as an elementary school, was built in 1913- 

Many of these people commuted to Norfolk every day. The following 
reminiscences on this subject were recently written: 

There are many people alive today who remember seeing in their lifetime 
the rise and fall of railroad transportation in Princess Anne County. From an 


old schedule dated 1906, I find that sixteen passenger trains ran from Norfolk 
via both Cape Henry and Virginia Beach each day. A great many children 
went to school in Norfolk by train and businessmen living in the county com- 
muted to the city. Also the housewives went into the city to shop. In addition, 
there were excursion trains all Summer bringing groups of people for a day 
at the Beach. Sunday Schools from all over the State had annual picnics in 
the Old Casino pavilion (31st Street) each year. 

The electric trains to Virginia Beach started from Monticello and City 
Hall Avenue and ran out Monticello to Princess Anne Road, much of which 
was unpaved. Many will remember the old dance trains that carried groups 
of young ladies and their escorts to the Casino at Virginia Beach for dancing 
each evening. They were called "The One-Step Special" or "The Two-Step 
Special" depending on which dance was popular. Later trains for the Beach 
left Union Station and others started from a terminal in Brambleton. 

The people who commuted from the Beach to Norfolk for years remem- 
ber the various kinds of trains: first the regular coaches, then the lumbering 
old trolley cars and the open street cars used in Summer, and last were the 
rail buses that traveled at a great rate of speed. 

The conductors on the old Norfolk Southern trains knew all of the com- 
muters. There were morning papers to be had and the trip constituted a real 
social affair. 

The same men worked on the cars for years and were called captains. 
Captains Mister, Milla, House, Simmons, Swan, Gettle, Burnham, Sawyer, 
Middleton, Lum, Butt, Winston, Barson, Reed, Rose, Stafford, Foy and Lam- 
bert all had many friends among the passengers. 

It was the building of a hard surfaced highway in 1920 that marked the 
beginning of the end of railroad transportation. Even the streamlined diesel 
railbus could not compete with private automobiles and highway buses. The 
old commuter trains became a memory. * 

With the new six-lane boulevard to the Beach crowded with traffic as it 
is today, there are many who yearn for the return of a commuter train. 

Shortly after 1900, there were three general stores in Virginia Beach: 
Sorrey's and Holland's on 17th Street near the train station on Pacific Avenue 
and Etheridge's on Cypress Avenue. Meredith had a drug store on I6th 
Street. The amusement pavilion at 31st Street (Sea Pines) is now familiarly 
known as the "Old Casino;" the "New Casino" was at or near 9th Street at 
the south end, where the rail line from Norfolk came in. 

The old wooden board walk, with the summer houses, made a perfect 
place for promenading. Ocean bathing was indulged in only during the 
early morning and late afternoon hours. Noonday sun was dangerous, so 
vacationists rocked and chatted on verandas during most of the day. Every- 
thing was done to prevent, rather than acquire sunburn. So important was it 


to keep the complexion lily white, that poultices of cornmeal and buttermilk 
were endured to bleach the tan and remove freckles. 

There is no finer experience for the palate in this section of Virginia 
than eating Lynnhaven oysters. The bivalves are advertized and served in all 
the good restaurants now, but at the turn of the century, Cape Henry was the 
mecca for oyster eaters because of O'Keefe's Casino. This Casino was just 
as famous as the Princess Anne Hotel. 

In 1902 the Chesapeake Transit Co. completed its railroad to Cape Henry. 
At this same time there was a young man with a dream waiting to fulfill his 
destiny. William J. O'Keefe had started his business life with an ice cream 
shop in the basement of the fabulous Princess Anne Hotel on l6th Street at 
Virginia Beach. He and his sister later ran a small hotel, called O'Keefe's 
Inn on the southeast corner of I6th and Atlantic Avenue. This building be- 
came the Courtney Terrace when it was jacked up and moved over to the 
ocean front. 

O'Keefe was always fascinated by Cape Henry.^ Evenings after his work 
at Virginia Beach was done he would set out for his walk. This walk was 
up the beach to Cape Henry about eight miles away. The Life Saving Stations 
at 26th Street and at Cape Henry were — like all the others- — exactly six miles 
apart, and the two lighthouses at Cape Henry were the landmarks. O'Keefe, 
himself was to add another landmark when he built his famous oyster house, 
O'Keefe's Casino, on the ocean front directly in line with the little brick train 
station at Cape Henry. There were no roads to Cape Henry then and the 
people came on the trains to enjoy the O'Keefe oysters. On New Year's Eve, 
O'Keefe's was the place to go. The guests danced until midnight when an 
elaborate dinner of oysters, raw, roasted or fried and Smithfield ham was 
served. After such a dinner it is hard to imagine, but the guests danced again 
until morning. Dr. Robert Woodhouse, of Virginia Beach, knew O'Keefe 
well and it is interesting to hear him tell of another big event at O'Keefe's. 
The occasion was the visit of President Taft to Norfolk in 1909. A party 
and reception was arranged for Taft at the Casino. Taft rode the cars to 
Cape Henry and waiting for him in front of the train station was an auto- 
mobile. This belonged to Mr. Charles J. Colonna of the Marine Railway. It 
was a real curiosity in 1909 and had been sent ahead to Cape Henry on a 
flat car. President Taft rode in the automobile in a straight line down the 
brick walk from the station to O'Keefe's, a distance of about one hundred 
yards. Everyone who could be there was there. Dr. Woodhouse says that 
O'Keefe had announced a beauty contest for the day. The beauties were 
oysters. He offered a prize for the prettiest barrel of oysters brought in by 
his regular oyster suppliers. 

Shepherd James, Henry Braithwait and Dr. Woodhouse's father, Robert 
Woodhouse, oystered on the east side of Lynnhaven River and Tony Ewell 


and R. A. Mapp were among the oystermen from the other side of the River. 
These men had supplied O'Keefe with oysters for a long time and when the 
barrels of oysters started arriving at Cape Henry to honor President Taft, 
O'Keefe looked them all over carefully. When the time arrived to choose the 
winner, O'Keefe found the decision was an impossible one. He had to call 
off his beauty contest for they were all too beautiful. 

Mr. O'Keefe had courted and married one of the guests who came to the 
Princess Anne Hotel from Canada. She learned to love Cape Henry as her 
husband did. Their life there created a legend. 

In 1916, The Princess Anne Country Club was organized and an eighteen- 
hole golf course laid out. The present club house was built high on a hill 
at a part of the Beach then called Sea Pines. The first World War slowed 
up this project, but the club house was opened in 1920 and the golf course 
completed the following year. This sporty course was designed by a well- 
known Norfolk architect, Clarence A. Neff, with the help of Walter Becket, 
a golf professional. Mr. Neff was such an interested organizer of the Princess 
Anne Country Club, he was made first president. He and his friends fought 
unpleasant odds against sand, marsh, mosquitoes and crows, who stole the 
balls as they were played. 

The war in Europe created a need for coastal defense and in 1914 the 
State of Virginia gave 343.1 acres of land at Cape Henry for a fort. The fort 
was officially named, by a War Department Order in 1916, for Major General 
John Patten Story, who had been a teacher in the Coast Artillery School at 
Fort Monroe. General Story was born in Wisconsin on August 8, 1841.* 
He entered the United States Military Academy in 1861 and was commissioned 
a Second Lieutenant in 1865. He served with the Infantry, Artillery, and 
Signal Corps. In 1904 he was promoted to Brigadier General and was ap- 
pointed Chief of Artillery. In 1905 he was retired, at his own request, after 
more than forty years of active service. General Story is responsible for many 
of the developments in range-finding apparatus and in the science of gunnery 
in the latter part of the 1800's. The job of this Coast Artillery post was to 
guard the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. Until 1948, the post had the heaviest 
armament on the Atlantic Coast. The Navy maintained a Harbor Entrance 
Control unit here which kept tabs on shipping and movement both on the 
water and sub-surface. 

The first Transportation Corps unit, the 458th Amphibious Truck Com- 
pany came to the post in 1946 and two years later Fort Story was taken over 
by the Transportation Corps. Their mission at the post is to train personnel 
working with amphibious trucks, such as the dependable DUKW* which 
was developed in one month during World War II when engineers working 

* Pronounced "duck"; a term made up of the code symbols indicating a 1942-model utility 
vehicle with four-wheel drive. 


without plans put a boat hull on a standard GP 21/^ ton truck. Advanced 
equipment is tested and used on the beaches of the post, such as the mam- 
mouth BARC** the world's largest amphibious vehicle. The only fourteen, 
currently in use by the Armed Services, are based at Fort Story. These BARCs 
weigh 98 tons and have power tires more than nine feet in diameter with 
four diesel engines, and can carry up to 100 tons of cargo on either land 
or water. 

During World War II, a large hospital was located at Fort Story. A total 
of 13,472 wounded men were treated here. This hospital closed when the 
war was over. 

A part of the air defense of the port area at Norfolk, and military bases 
in Tidewater, is the NIKE guided-missile battery situated at Fort Story, which 
would work in cooperation with the Tactical Air Command at Langley Air 
Force Base in the event of an attack. 

Additional land was acquired by condemnation and purchase, before and 
during the second World War and this post now has three and three-quarters 
miles of beach and covers 1,394 acres. This post, tiny by comparison with 
most Army installations, does a big job. Its troop complement is less than 
half the size of an Infantry regiment, yet it conducts all the Army's initial 
amphibious truck training. 

When the second World War came in 1941, the Navy took over the 
Cavalier Hotel, the largest and most elegant hotel at Virginia Beach. This 
beautiful hotel had been built atop the dunes north of Sea Pines. Its formal 
gardens and its imposing architecture have made it a show place. The Cavalier 
started a new era at the Beach when it opened The Cavalier Beach Club 
with its cabanas in 1930. 

The Virginia National Guard Rifle Range at the southern end of the 
Beach had changed its name whenever the Commonwealth changed its Gov- 
ernor. During World War II it was taken over by the U. S. Army for a 
training center and became Camp Pendleton. 

The influx of military personnel rented every available cottage and room. 
Blackouts were rigidly enforced. No one was allowed on the beach from 
sundown until sunrise. Those people who lived on the ocean front could see 
the activities of the German submarines with their naked eyes from their own 
front doors. Oil from sunken ships coated the beach. 

The following instances of torpedoing are officially listed as occurring off 
the Virginia shores:* 

On January 30, 1942, the men at Cape Henry heard a dull rumble as the 
tanker Rochester, of 6836 gross tonnage, exploded and was sent to the bottom 
with the loss of three of her crew of thirty-five. On the night of February 16, 

Barge, Amphibious, Resupply, Cargo. 


1942, during a dense fog, the keeper at Cape Henry Light heard whistles 
coming from a vessel evidently proceeding out to sea. Suddenly there was the 
sound of a torpedo explosion followed a short time later by another blast. 
The keeper learned that the tanker E. H. Blum had been torpedoed, but that 
every man aboard, in spite of the dense fog, had been picked up from the 
four lifeboats. Captain W. L. Evans of the Bli/>?i reported that they had 
launched the boats into a calm sea with the visibility zero. There were sixty- 
nine sailors in all. On March 20, 1942, the tanker Oakmar was torpedoed off 
the Virginia Beach shore. 

Early in the morning of April 1, 1942, the keeper at Cape Henry Light 
heard the distant thunder of what apparently was a torpedo explosion, and 
soon the entire coast guard personnel in the vicinity was alerted. Out at sea 
the coast guard cutter Jackson discovered, around two o'clock that morning, 
that the S. S. Tiger had been hit, and that all survivors had already been trans- 
ferred to YP52. When dawn came the Jackson reached the damaged craft 
and began to take her in tow toward Norfolk, but the tanker listed danger- 
ously at eleven o'clock that morning and finally sank by the stern. As it was 
only sixty feet deep where the Tiger went down, her bow, stacks and masts 
still projected from the water. 

Shortly after nine o'clock the following night, the men on dut}' at Cape 
Henry again heard explosions, apparently gunfire. Shortly thereafter the coast 
guard cutter Legare arrived on the scene just as a vessel was going down. She 
was the David H. Atwater. The cutter Legare after cruising the area came 
upon one lifeboat in which there was the dead body of a sailor, wearing a 
life-jacket from the Atwater. The coast guard vessel 218 picked up another 
life boat in which there were three dead men and three survivors. Nine more 
bodies were located the next day, all of them wearing lifejackets from the 
Darid H. Atwater, and later four more bodies were found. The Atwater had 
been sunk by gunfire, and one lifeboat had been machine-gunned. 

On April 15th, the freighter Robin Hood was torpedoed with heavy loss 
of life. On April 30th the freighter Alcoa Skipper sank with several lives lost. 

On September 21st, 1942, the U-boats were again successful off the Vir- 
ginia Capes and sent the barge Druid Hill to the bottom. Several months 
later the freighter John Aiorgan. traveling in convoy, was sunk just off Cape 
Henry Light on June 1, 1943. The last such action off the Virginia coast was 
the torpedoing of the 8300 ton steamship Swijtscout on April 18 1945. 

After the peace, prosperity followed and this stretch of beach from Cape 
Henry to Rudee Inlet, which less than a hundred years ago was uninhabited, 
was in 1906 incorporated as a town, and in 1952 became a city of the second 
class. The original 1,600 acres purchased by the development company mush- 
roomed as transportation improved and, when post-war building got under 
■way, Virginia Beach stretched and expanded to the limit of the ten miles of 
sand beach. 

The Virginia Beach Art Association in the last few years has promoted an 


interest in painting and their annual Boardwalk Art Show has become an 
event which is looked forward to by both artists and spectators. The concert 
series brought to the beach by the Music Club is well patronized and is 
appreciated by the permanent residents. A new and modern public library 
will soon be the result of a wide community drive in which most of the civic 
organizations of the beach have worked. The town also enjoys a very active 
Little Theater group, which functions during the winter months. For the past 
ten years, during the summer, Leslie Savage has brought the best Broadway 
plays to her "Theater-Go-Round" where her stock company performed in a 
tent most of this time. 

The coast from Virginia Beach to Cape Henry is geographically a con- 
tinuation of the barrier reef which forms the coast of the Carolinas. This 
barrier reef protects the great harbor of Hampton Roads. Erosion is one of 
the worst words in the English language at Virginia Beach. The city fathers 
have tried many things to prevent Nature from exerting her prerogative of 
change. At Virginia Beach a concrete promenade was built years ago to hold 
back the sea. This is still called "the board-walk" for the structure which it 
replaced. Great quantities of sand have been piped long distances to fill out 
the beach. At Cape Henry the sands in Fort Story have been stabilized with 

In the sixteenth century Spanish explorers mapped this coast and their 
expeditions left many ships wrecked up and down the beaches. The wild 
ponies of Chincoteague are said to be the survivors of a Spanish wreck. 

There was a Spanish expedition in 1570, which entered the Capes in early 
autumn. Did they anchor in one of the inlets which their maps show to have 
existed then near Crystal Lake? This group sailed into the Chesapeake Bay. 
There the Ajacan Indians pretended friendship, but as soon as the winter 
set in, the entire group who had tried to convert the Indians to Christianity — 
five priests and four novices of the Society of Jesus — were murdered and the 
church which the Indians had helped them build was destroyed.^ 

Later, in 1584, 1585, 1587 and 1590, Sir Walter Raleigh sent expeditions 
to Roanoke Island. Their records show that a party of Englishmen came up 
the coast but did not reach Cape Henry. They were told of an important 
Indian Village which stood about where Norfolk was founded. 

In 1607, the Englishmen who came ashore at Cape Henry from the three 
little sailing vessels, the Susan Constant, the Godspeed and the Discovery, 
found the shore west of Cape Henry a pleasing spot. Captain Christopher 
Newport had chosen the Susan Constant for his flag ship. Captain Bartholo- 
mew Gosnold, an old Raleigh man, he put in charge of the Godspeed, and 
Captain John Ratcliffe took charge of the Discovery. These three ships carried 
one hundred and four souls. Storm driven and in despair, they had furled 
their sails and ridden out a gale off Cape Hatteras. For three days thereafter 


Newport had sounded and had been unable to touch bottom at a hundred 
fathoms. There had been talk of turning back, but fate willed it otherwise. 
The next morning they made their landfall at Cape Henry. 

Captain George Percy has given us the best account of this trip and land- 
ing; he wrote as follows: 

The six and twentieth day of April, about four o'clock in the morning, 
we descried the land of Virginia. 

The same day we entered into the Bay of Chesupioc directly, without any 
let or hinderance. There we landed and discovered . . . fair meadows and 
goodly tall trees, with such fresh waters running through the woods as I was 
almost ravished at the first sight thereof.® 

The springs and cypress pools behind Cape Henry in Seashore State Park 
were the "fresh running waters." After moderate rain these waters run in a 
northwesterly direction. 

Twenty-eight of the party landed, taking the precaution to carry their 
arms with them. They stayed on shore all day, greatly enjoying the relief 
from the confinement on shipboard. Nothing happened during the day to 
indicate that they were going to be attacked, but Percy tells us that: 

At night, when we were going aboard, there came the savages creeping 
upon all four, from the hills, like bears, with their bows in their mouths, 
charged us very desperately in the faces, hurt Captain Gabriel Archer in both 
his hands, and a sailor [Matthew Morton] in two places in his body very 
dangerous. After they had spent their arrows, and felt the sharpness of our 
shot, they retired into the woods with a great noise, and so left us.' 

Percy also described the second day: 

The seventh and twentieth day we began to build up our shallop. The 
gentlemen and soldiers marched eight miles up into the land. We could not 
see a savage in ail that march. We came to a place where they had made a 
great fire, and had been newly roasting oysters. When they preceived our 
coming, they fled away to the mountains, and left many of the oysters in the 
fire. We ate some of the oysters, which were very large and delicate in taste.* 

The mountains to which Percy refers were the giant tree-covered sand dunes 
which rise nearly a hundred feet high at Cape Henry. The oysters were the 
famous Lynnhaven oysters which are still "large and delicate in taste." It was 
on the twenty-ninth of April that the company set up a cross at the place 
they named Cape Henry. The planting of a cross was the regular procedure 
to show to all others who might follow them that representatives of a 
Christian nation had been there and claimed the country. Because of the 
shifting dunes, it is impossible to determine exactly where the cross was set up. 
In recent years the Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America 
placed the gray stone cross which now honors the brave men of this expedi- 


tion near the ocean. Once a year, on the Sunday nearest the date of their 
landing, a service is held in their memory. This shrine was dedicated on 
26 April 1935. 

Cape Henry had other visitors of whom we have no written records. 
Pirates and wreckers are said to have used the sand wastes as headquarters 
for their unlawful activities. There are many tales of Blackbeard and treasure, 
and there have been serious attempts made to find the pirate gold, as well as 
a great many picnics planned with the same idea. On the edge of Long Creek 
(between Lynnhaven and Broad Bay) there is a hill, higher than the other 
dunes which is called Blackbeard's Hill. 

Legend says that, when the Cape was marked with a beacon fire to help 
vessels make a safe night passage through the Capes, wreckers captured the 
men in charge of the beacon and then moved the fire southward. This brought 
the ships aground at Cape Henry, where the wreckers were waiting. 

For the first fifty years after the settlement at Jamestown, vessels bound 
thereto had to sail in between the Capes, cross Chesapeake Bay, and find 
their way up the river as best they could. With increasing trade this condition 
had to be remedied. The first effort was made in 1660, when Capt. William 
Oewin was made "cheife pilotte of James River" and was ordered to "Main- 
taine good and sufficient beacons . . ."^ This arrangement seems to have been 
satisfactory, for sixty years passed before Governor Spotswood sent the fol- 
lowing message to the Assembly: 

24 November 1720 

Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the House of Burgesses: 
I send you a Petition which I lately received containing some proposals 
for Building and Keeping a Light House at Cape Henry, and at the same 
time I inform you that application hath heretofore been made by some con- 
siderable persons in the Government of Maryland to the end that the Assem- 
blies of both Colonys might be moved to concur in the like Design, where- 
fore, if you think fit to come into any measures for that purpose with a Pro- 
viso that Maryland perform their part, I shall readily hand to the Governour 
of that Province your resolutions on that head.'*' 

The industrious people of Boston had recently finished a lighthouse in 
1716. Merchants and mariners were impressed with its advantages. Governor 
Spotswood was unable to arouse sufficient local interest so wrote to the 
British Board of Trade asking that a beacon be built at Cape Henry.'^ 

The Board of Trade did investigate the governor's suggestion, but found 
that many influential people in Maryland were against the undertaking, claim- 
ing that the use of a good lead line was far superior to any such new idea. 
The Virginia Assembly passed an Act in February, 1727/8, "for erecting a 
Lighthouse on Cape Henry," which law was "not assented to by the King."''" 


During the next half century the Burgesses passed three more Resolutions 
and appointed several committees, attempting to build a lighthouse. On 10 Sep- 
tember 1773, Mr. Nicholas, Treasurer of the Colony, ordered from John 
Norton and Son, of London, material and equipment for building the light- 
house at Cape Henry, as well as material for other aids to navigation: buoys, 
copper plates and hoops. A little over a month later, instructions were for- 
warded arranging for the consignment of this material to Thomas Newton, 
Jr., a prominent merchant of Norfolk. Finally in 1774, The Virginia Gazette 
of April 28th carried the following advertisement: 

Notice is hereby given that a number of vessels will be wanted this sum- 
mer to bring about 6,000 tons of stone from Mr. Brook's quarry on Rappa- 
hannock, and land the same on Cape Henry for the Light House. 

This effort, started in 1774, seemed to be strong and resolute, but the 
American Revolution stopped further efforts, and the Council of the Com- 
monwealth of Virginia ordered: 

That for safety of the trade of the Commonwealth there be immediately 
set upon the point of land at Cape Henry on a staff 50 ft. high at least, a white 
flag striped with red to be constantly kept hoisted in the day when no enemy 
is within the Capes, and taken down when an enemy appears; that there also 
be hoisted on the said staff a proper light to be constantly burning in the 
night time when no enemy is within the Capes and taken down on the 
approach of the enemy. 

After American Independence had been won and the Constitution adopted, 
the first session of the first Congress of the United States enacted a law for 
"Establishment and Support of Light Houses, Beacons, Buoys and Public 
Piers." Only one specific location was mentioned. "That a lighthouse shall 
be erected near Chesapeake Bay." This was approved by George Washington, 
President of the United States, and on 9 August 1790 the Commonwealth of 
Virginia ceded two acres of land at Cape Henry to the new Federal Gov- 
ernment,'- where in 1791, a contract was signed by Alexander Hamilton, 
representing the government, and John McComb, Jr., "Bricklayer," for the 
erection of the Cape Henry Light. John McComb, Jr., was a master architect of 
post-colonial style. He designed the Old City Hall in New York City. 

The construction contract was for $15,200 and the building proceeded 
rapidly. Mr. McComb came to Cape Henry to live while the building was 
accomplished. The highest hill at the Cape was chosen. Here it was necessary 
to excavate to a depth of twenty feet before the sand hardened sufficiently to 
lay the foundation. At the moment of laying the foundation fifty tons of sand 
slid into the excavation, which delayed the work for a long time. The 
diameter of the lighthouse base measured nearly thirty feet at the lowest point, 


twenty feet below the surface of the ground, and gradually sloped inward 
to a diameter of sixteen feet six inches at the top of the tower.*^ It was built 
of Rappahannock free-stone and was octagonal in shape. 

The first lighthouse keeper was Laban Goffigan, and it is thought he first 
lighted the tower in October, 1792, using sperm oil for fuel. As years passed 
different types of oil were used. In 1812, an Argand lamp with metallic 
reflectors was installed. In 1855, a fog bell, known as the Jones bell was set 
up. Two years later, in 1857, a brick lining was built within the tower from 
top to bottom and a dioptic Fresnel lens was installed. This light was 
visible for twenty-four miles. 

During the War Between the States, the Cape Henry light was removed 
by force. Captain John H. Drew, of Norfolk, was Assistant Keeper in 1862-63. 
In June of 1934 he visited the old lighthouse and said that in April 1861, at 
about the same time that Norfolk and Portsmouth were evacuated by the 
Confederates, men from Princess Anne County, being unwilling for the 
United States Government to maintain the lighthouse, attacked it, and de- 
stroyed the lamps and the lens. A Federal lightship was moored off the 
coast and took over the duties of the Cape Henry Light for a while. By 1863 
the light was repaired and renovated and was operating again." 

In 1872, the District Engineer made a personal visit to the old tower. 
Of the eight faces, he explained, six of them showed large cracks, with the 
north and south faces particularly dangerous. He concluded his report, "At 
present the tower is in an unsafe condition, and there is no way of repairing 
the damage satisfactory, and a new one must be built. "'^ 

Six years later, in 1878 Congress appropriated $75,000 to build a new 
tower. This was to be 150 feet high and was to rest upon a mass of concrete, 
extending eight feet below the surface of the ground. It was to be made of 
iron. By 1880, the cast iron work was being assembled at the Philadelphia 
foundry of Morris, Tasker & Company. The beautiful brass and crystal lens 
was made in Paris in the same year, 1880. This lens is still in use today, with 
a small change in the source of its light. The brass oil drum with its metal 
wick now rests empty beneath the powerful electric lights (160,000 candle- 
power). A temporary pier was built in August of 1880, in an attempt to ease 
the landing of equipment and supplies. However, the first freight car to run out 
on the wharf plunged through into the water. Inspection revealed that marine 
borers had destroyed the foundations of the pier. The builders set to work 
immediately to remove everything which had been on the dock. The iron 
plates were the most valuable of the stores and they were successfully removed 
three hours before the entire pier fell into the sea. 

This was in September 1880. With bad weather facing them, the en- 
gineer and contractor decided to construct a tramway from the lighthouse 
site to Lynnhaven Inlet, seven miles away, where ships could dump their 


materials with more ease. Railway cars were to carry the materials to the 
building site of the lighthouse. Hauling was started in May of 1881, and by 
the next November the tallest fully enclosed cast-iron lighthouse in the United 
States was completed. The Cape Henry Light is of the "group flash" type, 
flashing three times (two short and one long) every 20 seconds. It is thus 
distinguished from other lights in the bay: Cape Charles Light, also a "group 
flash" light, flashes forty-five (four and five) every 60 seconds; Thimble 
Shoal Light, off Willoughby Spit, is "occulting" (revolving) and flashes every 
2 seconds; and Old Point Light formerly "fixed," now flashes twice. This 
enables mariners entering the bay to identify these lights with certainty. 

The lighthouse service of the United States was formerly under the De- 
partment of Commerce. However, in 1939 the lighthouses were turned over 
to the Treasury Department, and the Cape Henry Lighthouse is under the 
command of the Fifth Coast Guard District which operates under that agency. 

The windmills of Princess Anne and Virginia Beach would have faded 
away completely except for researches of Louisa Venable Kyle, whose im- 
agination was captured a few years ago by an unknown artist's picture which 
hangs on the wall in Dr. Robert Woodhouse's oflice at Virginia Beach. The 
picture is in watercolor and is signed S. W. J. It is a picture of the old Episco- 
pal Mission called "The Chapel by the Sea," which was near Dam Neck 
with part of the scenery, and close by the Chapel were two post-type wind- 
mills. This little picture was painted in 1890 by a gentleman guest at the 
Princess Anne Hotel, who presented it to a lady. 

These mills were built to grind corn and wheat. The mill house and sail 
were built high up upon a well-braced post and could be swung around to 
catch the wind. The mill had four sails or vanes that reached almost to the 
ground and had a spread of fifty feet. These mills were operating just after 
the Revolutionary War was over and continued to operate until the turn of 
the last century. There were two mills, called "The White Mill" and "The 
Black Mill" on either side of the Sandbridge Road where it met the ocean. 
There were the two mills at Dam Neck, one owned by David Malbone and 
the other by Captain Bailey Barco. There was one mill on the Macon farm, 
which is now Camp Pendleton. In those days there was one more road that 
ended on the beach up near Crystal Lake. 

The stretch of beach from Cape Henry, south, past Cape Hatteras and 
Cape Lookout to Cape Fear has been known as a trap for vessels since the 
time of the early Spanish explorers. It is known to all mariners as the 
"Graveyard of the Atlantic." The timbers and ribs of old and new vessels 
wrecked on this barrier reef line this beach and disappear and reappear 
as storms change the shifting sand. The reason these waters are the travel 
lanes of the ships of the world is the usefulness of the Gulf Stream. 
It is a powerful current which the first explorers of the West Indies 









found saved time for them. The return trip to Spain was north from the 
Caribbean along the Gulf Stream until they sighted Hatteras and then due 
east. This was the quickest trip home. When English mariners traveled to 
Virginia they found the best route was south from England to the Canary 
Islands, then west on the Equatorial Current to the Indies and north with the 
Gulf Stream.^" Shoals, like grasping fingers reach out from the sand reef to 
grab any vessel which is weak or foundering. When the great Atlantic boils 
up and the hurricane flags fly from these Capes, all craft seek shelter or run 
for the open sea. So it was, and still is — the advantages have outweighed the 
risk of shipwreck, and trans-oceanic, trans-continental and coastwise shipping 
still ply this course. In the latter part of the nineteenth century the Life- 
Saving Service was established to help lower the loss of life. It operated under 
the Department of Commerce until 1915 when it became a part of the United 
States Coast Guard. About the same time the "new" lighthouse was being 
built at Cape Henry (1881), the Seatack Life Saving Station started its opera- 
tion about seven miles south of the lighthouse on the lonely beach. The name 
Seatack was the local name for that part of the beach where the British had 
made an amphibious landing during the War of 1812. During the sixty years 
which had passed between the attack and the building of the life saving 
station, the local people had changed "Sea Attack" to "Seatack." The Life- 
Saving Stations were built at intervals of exactly six miles; beside the ones 
at Cape Henry and Seatack, others were at Dam Neck, Little Island and 
False Cape and on down the coast to Cape Fear to guard this "Graveyard." 
In the early days, before tourists, the beach was used only by fishermen and 
seamen. Many seamen made their homes on the ocean's edge after experienc- 
ing shipwreck there. These people bred a special race of men whose bravery 
and heroism in fighting the sea have had no equal, and it was these men who 
manned the first life-saving stations. The story of this service is just as much 
an epic of America as the growth of the west. This should be a fertile field 
for true adventure stories for the television producers. With improved com- 
munications and more accurate weather forecasting, the Coast Guard has 
seen fit to close some of the Life-Saving Stations on this coast, but the work 
still calls for brave men, for the sea still takes its toll. 

The best remembered and most talked of shipwrecks are the ones which 
were witnessed by the most people. Of these the Dictator is probably the best 
known. The wooden figurehead of this Norwegian ship was a landmark at 
16th Street and the Ocean for many years. In 1891, on March 27th she went 
aground at what is now 37th Street. She was bound for England from 
Pensacola, Florida and loaded with lumber. After her cargo became water- 
logged from leaks caused by storms, she foundered just north of Seatack 
Station. A breeches-buoy wire was gotten to the ship and the survivors slid 
to dry land with hungry waves licking at their heels.^' The Norwegian captain 


of the Dictator was J. M. Jorgensen. As many ship's captains did, Jorgensen 
had his wife and infant son sailing with him. As the survivors slid in to 
safety, Captain Jorgensen pleaded with his wife to take their son in her arms 
and join the people on the shore. Mrs. Jorgensen refused to leave the ship 
without her husband. The poor woman was not to be persuaded, although 
her husband assured her he could make the land by himself even if he had 
to swim. The picture changed swiftly and before a decision could be reached 
the mast fell and the lines became tangled. The breeches-buoy was put out 
of order by the mass and tangle of ropes, leaving an unfavored few on 
board. Captain Jorgensen took his small son in his tired arms and started 
swimming toward the shore through the surf. His wife swam as best she 
could behind them. Both of his loved ones lost their lives that night, and 
their bodies were cast up on the beach. 

The figure head from the Dictator, a buxom Scandinavian lady carved 
from wood, washed up at l6th Street where she was placed upon a pedestal 
and became a sort of mascot of Virginia Beach. "With patching and painting 
she stood until 1953 when she was retired to the City Garage.^* Money is 
the champion she now needs to return her to her former position. 

One of the- most violent storms to hit Virginia Beach occurred April 7, 
1889. That night more than two dozen ships were wrecked between Cape 
Henry and Cape Hatteras. The Benjamin F. Poole of Providence, Rhode Is- 
land, bound for Baltimore to load coal, was high in the water. Her skipper. 
Captain Hjalmar Charlton tried to make the Virginia Capes when the storm 
hit. After he and his crew were exhausted and there was no hope of making 
a safe anchorage he took his only chance and ran aground. The high tide and 
wind set his four-masted schooner high on the beach in front of the fashion- 
able old Princess Anne Hotel. The entire ship's company was brought safely 
ashore in a breeches-buoy by the men from Seatack Life Saving Station.'* 

Captain A. L. Barco, a retired member of the Life Saving Service, was a 
boy of fifteen when the Benjamin F. Poole came ashore. He remembered that 
Captain Edward Drinkwater was in charge of the rescue and that other 
members of the Seatack Station at that time included J. W. Robinson, John 
W. Sparrow, Jimmy Herrick and a Mr. Johnston. There were others on duty 
there also. 

The Merritt Wrecking Company took charge and several attempts were 
made to float the ship, but to no avail. Realizing that only a very abnormal 
high tide could float the vessel, the wrecking company built a coffer dam 
around the ship by putting sheet piling into the sand and then the sand 
around the schooner was dug out by hand, forming a sort of dry dock. A 
hawser of rope, some ten inches in circumference, was put to the sea side 
with the anchor off shore marked by a buoy. 

Storms came and went and for seventeen months the Benjamin F. Poole 

Va. 2—9 



rested on shore at Virginia Beach. During a northeaster which lasted for three 
days her salvage was accomplished. The storm began on September 28, 1890 
and on the following day the wrecking tug pulled up the anchor and by 
heaving on the cable, was able to move the Poole fifty feet in spite of the high 
seas. Before the storm blew itself out, the big schooner was afloat and was 

...^^ ...II _. 

(Courtesy Norfolk Chamber of Commerce) 

towed into port to be overhauled. After she was repaired, she sailed for many 

The beaux and belles and honeymooners of the gay nineties" who 
patronized the old Princess Anne Hotel, walked around this stranded ship 
and enjoyed it as a "conversation piece" for seventeen months, but very few 
knew that Captain Charlton, who was living on his stranded schooner, was a 
honeymooner himself the last three months his ship was aground. In 1956 — 
just sixty-six years later — the bride, Matilda Charlton, was quoted in an 
interview for a local newspaper as follows: 

Gladly will I go back sixty-six years and tell you what I remember of 
Virginia Beach in 1890. It consisted of fourteen cottages and two hotels, the 
elite Princess Anne, and the Ocean View. There was a foot boardwalk from 
the Princess Anne and a very sandy walk of about a hundred feet to the 
vessel in which I lived for three months. The vessel was a very large and 


beautiful four-masted schooner, and during that summer we had many visitors 
come aboard. 

I remember vividly my experience when the northeaster began on Septem- 
ber 28, 1890 and continued until October 3rd. My husband, the ships captain, 
thinking I would be safer off the ship, wrapped me in oil skins and he and 
the pilot Captain Cunningham from Norfolk, attempted to escort me from the 
ship. The wind was howling and the beach had been cut away at least four 
feet high. Between the two men I was finally landed at the Seatack Life 
Saving Station, where I spent the night. 

I could hear the roar of the breakers and knowing my husband was 
aboard the ship I was almost frantic. To make matters worse, Captain Drink- 
water of the Life Saving Station said, "She will break up and I will use her 
cabin panels for a new home." However, the vessel weathered the gale and 
I withstood the night. 

The vessel had moved fifty feet and as the storm continued, I was again 
wrapped in oil skins and escorted to Norfolk, where I continued my journey 
to my home in Baltimore. 

I never thought then that Virginia Beach would ever be the resort it 

The foot prints in the sands of Virginia Beach have many different tales 
to tell. What colorful actors we would have if some of them could return! 
What amazement would be felt by those who found this beach a vast and 
lonely sand barren, if they could see the developments of the last seventy-odd 

The first cottage was built at the ocean in 1880 and in 1952 Virginia 
Beach had reached the status of a city of the second class. Besides the fine 
old hotels that have won a reputation during the last half a century, there 
are the latest modern hotels and motels;* the old gray weathered shingles 
have given way to pastel tropical colors in tile and glass and cinder block. 
Gay beach umbrellas have supplanted the old black ones that vacationists 
once carried. Scant bathing suits are a contrast to those of grandmother's day, 
when bathers were fully clad, even to stockings. Here there are towering 
apartment buildings, swank beach clubs and cabanas; gone are the rocking 
chairs and the summer houses. Jet planes roar overhead; yachts are often 
seen in the ocean beyond the breakers. After the rail line was built from 
Norfolk to Cape Henry in 1902, and the loop was completed between Cape 
Henry and Virginia Beach (as was mentioned earlier in this chapter), the 
seashore to the north of Virginia Beach began to be developed as a residential 
resort section. It was not until after World War I (about 1925) that a hard- 
surface road was extended north from Sea Pines (31st Street) toward Cape 

* In a recent directory there were listed over thirty-five hotels and nearly a dozen motels in 
and around Virginia Beach. 


Henry. This area has recently been annexed to the City of Virginia Beach, 
and is now almost solidly built up all the way to the entrance of Fort Story 
Reservation. Only a few of the first cottages built in this area thirty to forty 
years ago now remain: for example, Dr. John Masury's house on Crystal Lake, 
the Cole Cottage (now Mrs. J. B. McCaw's) at 64th Street, the F. F. Nash 
Cottage (now Harvard Birdsong's) at 67th Street, and the F. S. Royster 
Cottage at 77th Street. Riding the electric cars north from Sea Pines, some 
of the stations which would be familiar to "old timers" were Masury's, 
Cole's, Nash's, and Emmerson's. 

Virginia Beach has participated in the whole history of our country from 
the very beginning and its phenomenal growth and prosperity as a city 
graphically represent the "American way." 

Notes on Chapter XXI 
N.B. See remark at beginning of Chapter I notes. 

1. Kyle, "A Country Woman's Scrap Book," March II, 1956, Norfolk-Virgiiiijn-Pilol. 

2. Dr. J. J. OKeefe, Jr., Norfolk, Virginia. 

3. Information Service Division, Fort Story, Virginia. 

4. Snow, Famous Ughthousei of America, p. 165. 

5. See Chapter III, supra. 

6. Ibid. 

7. Ibid. 

8. Ibid. 

9. 2H35. 

10. Journal of House of Burgess 1712-1726, p. 277. 

11. Snow, op. cit., p. 156. 
11a. 4H183. 

12. 13H3; 23W(2)284. 

13. Snow, op. cit,, p. 161. 

14. Osborne, The Old Lighthouse at Cape Henry, p. 10. 

15. Snow, op. cit., p. 162. 

16. Stick, Grave Yard of the Atlantic, p. 2. 

17. Edmunds, Tales of the Virginia Coast, p. 153. 

18. White, Virginia Beach as it Was in the Beginning. 

19. Kyle, "A Country Woman's Scrap Book," Apr. 15, 1956, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. 

20. Ibid. 

Chapter XXII 

The Upper County of New Norfolk 
or Nansemond County 

By Floyd McKnight 

1YING DIRECTLY EAST of Norfolk County, on the south side of the 
James River, is the county of Nansemond, originally called the Upper 
^ County of New Norfolk or Upper Norfolk County, 35 miles long and 
19 miles wide, bisected from northeast to southwest in its northeast portion by 
the Nansemond River, which flows into the James. This river, which gave 
its name to the area it drains has its origin partially in the creeks fed by that 
natural mystery and wonderland of southeastern Virginia, the Great Dismal 
Swamp, treated separately in Chapter XXIV of this history. Nansemond 
County extends in north latitude from 36° 33' 3" to 36° 55' 28", and in 
west longitude from 76° 24' 23" to 76° 55' 45". 

The river's name is of Indian origin. Its early spellings were various and 
phonetically based — Nansimum, Nandsamund and others. The meaning of 
the name is said to be "fishing point or angle," its application being in this 
instance to the angle or point formed by the junction of the western and 
southern branches of the Nansemond River. 

The Nansemond tribe of Indians were numerous and powerful, as Captain 
John Smith found to his inconvenience upon his entrance to the region in 
1608. These Indians belonged to the strong Powhatan Confederacy, ranging 
over a wide Virginia area and possibly part of Maryland.* The great Chief 
Powhatan had, by his personal qualities and dominance, increased it from only 
seven tribes, in addition to the one bearing his name, to thirty. Many of the 
place names of this region of the State perpetuate today the names of these 
tribes. There is record that the Spaniards** first met these tribes in 1570 
when seeking to establish a mission in the Chesapeake Bay area, but the tribal 
role in the English establishment of the colony at Jamestown, with which they 
were intimately connected, remains outstanding in their background. Peace 
and war alternated in the early relations between these tribes and the English; 
and this was the case with the Nansemonds, as with the other tribes of the 
confederacy. Eventually they were weakened and destroyed in the course of 

* See Chapter II. 
** See Chapter III. 


historic destiny, and the history of the Powhatan tribes practically ceased at 
the treaty of Albany in 1684. 

The Nansemonds, with whom we are principally concerned in this chapter, 
had their dwellings on the banks of the Nansemond and its tributaries. Their 
largest settlement was at what later came to be known as Reid's Ferry on 
the Western Branch. Their chief lived in the region of Dumpling Island, 
probably the "Sharpe's Isle" of Smith's Map, near which Captain Smith and 
twelve companions were attacked while proceeding up the river in the summer 
of 1608. Throughout the county today are found relics of the ancient life of 
the red man — his weapons of stone and his tools. The quantities of oyster 
shells found in the soil along the banks of creeks and streams throughout 
Nansemond County today may have been left after the tribesmen's large-scale 
oyster roasts. The edges of Lake Drummond, which remains today a region 
of beauty and mystery, abound with these shell remnants, as do the hills of 
sand skirting the Great Dismal Swamp. 

Dumpling Island, near which John Smith was attacked, was a place 
which the Nansemonds used to store their maize. The tribe had about 1,000 
acres of cleared land nearby, on which they raised maize, melons and beans. 
Two or three hundred warriors defended the tribe against outside inter- 
ference. And it was canoes filled with these fighting men that Captain Smith 
suddenly found himself facing on that eventful day when he and his com- 
panions were sailing up the Nansemond. Surrounded by the warriors, the 
white men naturally took recourse to their weapons, and at the sound of the 
first shots the Indians jumped overboard and swam quickly ashore. Smith took 
possession of their canoes and was about to destroy them when the Indians 
made signs of surrender from the banks of the river.* For the moment, the 
Nansemonds were willing to buy peace at the cost of "400 baskets of full 
come," which the white men sorely needed to relieve the hungry colonists 
at Jamestown. 

Thenceforth there were times of friendly relations and times of trouble 
between the white people and the defenders of an older American civilization. 
On occasion the red men launched further attacks or sought to draw the 
English into dangerous traps, but in more tranquil periods relations of com- 
merce and sometimes of friendship developed between the Indians and the 
newcomers. As the situation actually evolved, the white people purchased 
the needed corn with beads and other possessions precious to the Indians in 
times of peace, and when the going was tougher they obtained the corn as 
penalty for what they could not otherwise interpret than as bad behavior 
on the part of the tribesmen — marauding attacks and plotting to dislodge the 
foothold, becoming ever firmer and firmer, of the English colonists. It is 

* See Chapter III. 


told that in one field, some years ago, near a large Indian spring, quantities 
of glass beads were found half buried — perhaps, some speculated, beads once 
used by the white men to purchase corn and provisions. A large beech tree 
stood over the spring until it, too, suffered the ravages of time. But tradition 
tells how this beech tree bore on its bark an undeciphered inscription. The 
meaning of the inscription was solved when, a few decades ago, an Indian 
family passed through the region and camped there for several days during 
which time one of their children was being treated in a Nansemond County 
hospital. When a white man showed the beech tree inscription to the de- 
scendants of ancient America, they at once read it in the Indian language as 
meaning "Nansemond." Of course, it is to be doubted whether an inscription 
on a tree would last 300 years; but who is to say that some more recent 
Indian did not carve the inscription? 

After John Smith's encounter of the summer of 1608, the English colonists 
passed through a hard winter. In 1609 there was desperation at Jamestown. 
Starvation threatened. At that time Captain Smith recalled his experience up 
the Nansemond River, with its oyster shell banks and isles of plenty. Ac- 
cordingly he ordered Captain John Martin to proceed there and found a 
settlement, the first away from Jamestown. Martin seized the Indian chief, 
captured the town called Nansemond and took the corn on Dumpling Island.* 
However, he was unexpectedly attacked by the Indians, who rescued their 
chief and carried off the 1,000 bushels of corn which were so near to being 
the white man's prize. Martin then fled to Jamestown, followed by his men, 
and Smith's plan for a settlement up the Nansemond was abandoned. 

But the English colonizers did not forget the lure of Dumpling Island 
nor the possibilities which the junction of the Western Branch with the 
Nansemond's main stream suggested to their imaginations. It was but a matter 
of time before supremacy was to be recognized. Still, in those beginning years 
of the seventeenth century, there were not alone the Nansemond Indians to 
reckon with, but beyond them the Warrosquyoakes and the Chesapeakes, both 
friendly with them; also the Nottoways, a word said to mean "snake" or 
"enemy," an Iroquois tribe, as well as the Meherrins and their offshoot tribe, 
the Tararas, and farther south the Chawanooks, whose name implied their 
southerly location on Chowan River. 

The woods were veined with trails leading from one tribal settlement to 
another, these routes running on high ground near the rivers, which they 
crossed when necessary at the head of tidewater. The roads of the white 
settlers later followed these old trails, supplemented by ferry service which 
considerably shortened the total trips that had to be taken. As early as 1612 
there is record that Sir Thomas Dale, with 100 men, explored the Nansemond 

* See Chapter III. 


River to its sources, and slowly the English began to brave the dangers of 
settlement.* In peacetime such processes take place slowly and often un- 
noticed, but when trouble comes the record is made and remembered and 
passed on at least as tradition. In this instance the trouble came in 1622. 

In that year occurred the "Great Massacre," as it came to be known. 
Edward Waters and his wife were captured by the Nansemond Indians and 
taken to the river's mouth, where escape seemed unlikely. But one day the 
Indians relaxed their guard upon seeing an empty English boat which had 
become loosened from its moorings and drifted ashore, a veritable gift of the 
winds and waves to Lieutenant and Mrs. Waters, who while the Indians 
were occupied with the English boat escaped in a canoe and paddled to 

Some inhabitants were killed in that Indian massacre, but later in the 
same year the English had their turn at armed success when Sir George 
Yeardley took 300 men into the Nansemond country and devastated much of 
the area. At that time the Indians lost houses and crops by fire. That war 
was official, and the expedition was launched through plans initiated in the 
Governor's Council. The Nansemonds, driven to seek shelter among their 
neighbor tribes because their own provisions were destroyed, were eventually 
forced to ask for a truce. Their numbers decreased after they went to live 
among the Nottoways and the Meherrins. Some refugee Indians retreated 
into the Dismal Swamp, from which they finally emerged to form a settle- 
ment at Bower's Hill, to the north of the swamp, in Norfolk County, adopting 
the language and customs of the English. Here their descendants still live 
in peace and plenty. But otherwise, throughout the region, most traces of 
Indian life and even of Indian blood are no longer evident. Much of the 
Indians' power was broken after they had staged another massacre in 1644 
and so aroused the anger of the English that the 1644-1645 session of the 
Assembly ordered the inhabitants south of the James River to march upon the 
Indians. War was declared in 1646 upon the Nansemonds and nearby tribes, 
and the natives were at that time thoroughly subdued. 

The success of the English was so apparent that, by October, 1646, the 
Assembly formally repealed acts forbidding trade with the Indians and for 
cutting down their corn and otherwise carrying on war against them. After- 
ward the Nansemond tribe dwindled until by 1669 it numbered only 45 fight- 
ing men. In 1744, no longer able to subsist by hunting, their chief means of 
support, they were completely joined with the Nottoways, who had also 
dwindled and lost their lands. Recognizing that many of the Indians were then 
destitute, the Assembly in that year gave special permission for them to sell 
300 acres of land in Nansemond County. It had been represented to the 

* See Chapter III. 


Assembly, the statute read, "that the Indians of the two nations are very prone 
to drink spirits and other strong liquors, to a very great excess, thereby giving 
ill-disposed and dishonest people opportunities to make very great advantage 
of them, by first getting them in debt and then taking their skins, money, 
clothes and ammunition, by which they defeat the just trader from getting 
paid for furnishing them with the necessaries of life." After that revelatory 
introduction, the act of the Assembly went on to provide for the sale of 
Indian lands as a means of giving the Indians the wherewithal for trade. At 
the same time the sale of liquor to them was prohibited, except upon payment 
of immediate cash. In 1791 trustees were named to sell the tribe's last re- 
maining lands so that the proceeds might further be used for their support. 
The law again indicated the social aspects of the Indian problem at that 
time. The Indians had, it said, "become so reduced in their number as not to 
exceed five persons, who through old age and bodily infirmities are rendered 
unable to support themselves." 

But long before the final subjugation of the Indians, the colonists faced 
countless other problems. In 1635 they were clinging to the watercourses in 
establishing their scant settlements. It was in that year that Governor West 
granted to Richard Bennett 2,000 acres on the Nansemond River for having 
imported forty persons. 

Further land patents in the years between 1635 and 1640 were so numer- 
ous as to indicate a notable influx of population. Plantations were established. 
James Knott received a 1,200-acre patent during that period, and two years 
afterward an additional 1,500 acres. The name of Knott's Neck memorializes 
this grant. Other land grants went to Robert Newman, at Newman's Point, 
which later became Gaskins' Wharf; Thomas Tilley and a Mr. Walton, who 
are on record as having left land to help the poor. In 1637 alone, there were 
grants in Upper Norfolk County to the following: Edward Major, 450 acres 
on the Nansemond River, adjoining D. Gookin; Francis Hough, 800 acres 
on the first creek out of the Nansemond River on the south side, 100 acres 
on the Nansemond River itself, and a further 200 acres between Richard 
Bennett's land and his own previous grant; John Wilkins, 1,300 acres on the 
east side of the Nansemond River, along the second creek on the south side 
of the First Branch; Thomas Addison, 150 acres north of Daniel Gookin's 
property; Thomas Hampton, 700 acres on the Nansemond River and a 
subsequent 300 acres also on the river; William Parry, 350 acres on "the 
narrow" of the East Branch of the Nansemond River; John Burnett, of 
Edinburgh merchant, 150 acres adjoining John Gookin's land; and Mary 
Rogers, widow of Edward Rogers, 300 acres situated north on Crosse Creek, 
"provided nevertheless yt whereas the said Mary Rogers is now with child 
by the said Edward Rogers that if the child bee borne with life that then the 


inheritance of the said land to belong to the said child," and a further 200 
acres nearby.* 

Bennett's patent, dated August 19, 1637, included mention of his bringing 
with him "Austin a Negroe," the first member of that race officially recorded 
as entering the district. Major Richard Bennett was a man of powerful per- 
sonality and achievement, and his name became closely linked with Virginia's 
early history. Bennett's Pasture and Bennett's Creek bear his name. He became 
Governor of Virginia, and left considerable land in his parish for the benefit 
of the poor, as is evidenced by his will, probated April 12, 1675. At an early 
period he was Collector General for this district. 

In 1634 Virginia was divided into eight shires after the English pattern. 
Nansemond was then a part of Elizabeth City Shire, which included the tip 
of the peninsula north of the James River and all of what is now Princess 
Anne, Norfolk and Nansemond counties south of the James. In 1636 the area 
south of the James was separated to form the county of New Norfolk, as 
discussed in Chapter IX, which in 1637 was divided into Upper and Lower 
Norfolk counties. In March, 1645/6, the name of Upper Norfolk was changed 
to Nansemond.* 

Upper Norfolk County's first recorded representatives in the House of 
Burgesses were Randall Crew, John Gookin** and Tristram Norsworthy in 
January, 1639/40. Major Richard Bennett's influence at that period of growth 
and development was tremendous. In 1639 he was on the Governor's Council. 
He was a Roundhead, and gathered about him people of the same political 
and religious persuasion. In 164 1 he sent his brother to New England in 
search of Puritan ministers for Virginia, whose custom of cropping their hair 
very closely led the Royalists, or Cavaliers, to give them derisively the name 
of "Roundheads." Throughout that period the effects of the civil war in 
England carried over persistently into the colonies. Accordingly, Bennett and 
his "Roundheads" were Parliamentarians as opposed to Cavaliers, and Puritans 
as opposed to the Established Church of England, although then affiliated with 
it. In 1641 the Roundheads in England were establishing one of that country's 
two major political parties, later to be known as Whigs, opposed to Tories; 
then as Liberals, opposed to Conservatives. 

Other early leaders included the following, who became Upper Norfolk 
representatives in the House of Burgesses in addition to the representatives 
named above: Daniel Gookin, Jr., formerly of Newport News, and John 
Carter, 1641/2; John Carter and Randall Crew, both serving second terms, 
1642/3; Randall Crew (third term) and Moore Fauntleroy, 1644; Philip 
Bennett and Moore Fauntleroy (second term), 1644/5; Edward Major and 

* See Chapter IX for further land grants. 

* Hening, Statutes al Large, I, 323. 

** Formerly of Newport News and later Commander of Lower Norfolk. 



Richard Wells, 1645; Edward Major (second term) and Samuel Stoughton, 
1646; and Moore Fauntleroy (third term) ; and Samuel Stoughton and Richard 
Wells (both second terms), 1647. 

With the settlement of Nansemond County, the prevailing politico-re- 
ligious warfare spilled over from England into Virginia and consequently into 
this local area, paralleling on its own level the Indian wars being waged 
against the marauding tribesmen. In March, 1642/3 an important event oc- 

( Courtesy Norfolk Chamber of Commerce) 

curred — the division of the county's single parish into three parishes. The 
first glebe was established in 1636 and in 1640 Percival Champion gave land 
to serve as a glebe for Upper Norfolk Parish. Churches were built in each 
parish in 1643. 

Continuously from 1607 until the American Revolution, the Church of 
England was the Established Church in Virginia. The clergy were inducted 
into office by the Governors, and the church itself was supported like any 
other institution of government through tithes paid by the people. The au- 
thority to "present" clergymen rested in the vestry of a church, a body of 
about twelve men elected by the people, generally the men most respected 
in the community concerned. The authority of the vestry was specifically ec- 
clesiastical, and was conceived of as including the care of the parish poor and 
the holding of all trust funds for such purposes. The vestry fixed the rate 


and received all tithes. The people were identified with the Church and with 
the State; as some expressed it, they were the State, and they were the Church. 
The chosen parson was theirs. His duties and his authority were defined. 
Every male over sixteen years of age was titheable. Records indicate that the 
tax rate for tithes between 1750 and 1800 varied between 28 and 60 pounds 
of tobacco per poll. But Nansemond tobacco was priced at around 2 cents 
or less per pound, and the tithe was most likely not burdensome. Tobacco 
was in those days the common currency. The minister's salary was 16,000 
pounds of tobacco per year. The clerk of the chapel received 1,000 pounds. 
Once, while the minister's oflEce was vacant for an extended time, the clerk's 
salary in the Upper Parish went up to 2,000 pounds. Governor Gooch stated 
the top price of tobacco in Virginia to have been, in 1728, 3d (6 cents) per 
pound. By 1744 there were 1,139 titheables in this parish. 

The three original parishes were called South, East and West (renamed 
Upper, Lower and Chuckatuck in 1680). As was customary, each parish had 
several chapels of ease: There were the second Chuckatuck Church of 1700, 
and in Upper Parish the Middle Chapel (of uncertain date), the Upper (or 
Somerton) Chapel of 1692, Upper New (or Holy Neck) Chapel of 1748 
which replaced the Somerton Chapel, and Cypress Chapel of 1758. The first 
church in Upper Parish was Old Brick Church (not to be confused with the 
one of the same name in Isle of Wight County), which after years of use 
was abandoned as unsafe when a new parish church was built in Suffolk 
Town in 1753. This parish outgrew the other two at an early period, follow- 
ing population trends. At the outset the lands along the Nansemond River 
and the Western Branch were the first to be settled. But after 1700 the upper 
portion of the county received a large influx of settlers. And with the growth 
of Upper Parish, the other two parishes. Lower and Chuckatuck, were merged 
in 1725 to form Suffolk Parish, which still was not so populous as Upper 
Parish until a part of Upper Parish was added to it in 1749. In Suffolk Parish 
there were two churches — the old Glebe Church or Bennett's Creek Church 
(the parish church), built in 1738, and the third church at Chuckatuck, 
now St. John's, erected between 1753 and 1756. 

Some of Nansemond County's early religious leaders were outstand- 
ing. The Rev. George White, mentioned in Chapter IX, was on the Nanse- 
mond River in 1635. Thomas Bennett, of Trinity College, B.A., 1624/5 
(Cantab.), was ordained by the Bishop of Peterborough in 1628, and headed 
an independent congregation in Nansemond until banished by Governor 
Berkeley in 1648. In 1653 Roger Green, of County Norfolk, England, was in 
this county. He was one of the few to receive bounty land from the Assembly 
for settling in the southern part of Virginia (Roanoke Island). William 
Housden served in West (Chuckatuck) Parish in 1680 and simultaneously in 
Isle of Wight County. In the same parish William Rudd served in 1703, 


Thomas Hassell in 1709 and Samuel Wallis in 1714. In East Parish John 
Wood (Magdalen College [Oxon.} 1658) was preaching in 1680, and Giles 
Rainsford in 1714. Leaders in South (Upper) Parish were: John Gregory in 
1680, Thomas Hughes from 1716 to 1719, William Balfour in 1744 and 
1745, William Webb from 1747 to 1760 (he became master of the Grammar 
School at the College of William and Mary in 1760 and so served until 1762), 
and Pate Lunan from 1760 to 1774. In Suffolk Parish, so named in 1725, 
early leaders were Nicholas Jones, ordained in 1723, served in Lynnhaven 

Parish from 1726 to 1728, and came to Suffolk in 1731; MacKensie, 

1753 and 1754; John Agnew, 1754 to 1775; Henry John Burges, 1778; and 
Arthur Emmerson, Jr., 1785. 

Into the system of the Establshed Church, Richard Bennett introduced 
an independent element. As already indicated, in l64l he sent his brother 
to New England to bring back Puritan ministers. At that time the Established 
Church in Nansemond was in the charge of the Rev. Thomas Harrison, 
formerly chaplain to Governor Berkeley and minister of Elizabeth River 
Parish, 1640-45 (see Chapter X) . The growth of the independents worried 
the authorities, who adopted suppressive tactics. Independence in religion 
spelled political disloyalty, and in that period of bitter struggle between 
Cromwell and the British Crown Virginia was predominantly loyalist. By 
1648 strong pressure was brought to bear against the Nansemond County 
independents and their co-religionists. The Rev. William Durand, another 
minister of Elizabeth River Parish, Lower Norfolk County, a leader in the 
movement, was banished only a few months before the execution of Charles I. 
He retired to Maryland, where he received an 800-acre grant for importing 
persons into that colony. Harrison and others were expelled. Some who stub- 
bornly held to their views were imprisoned. All were disarmed. The insurgent 
spirit was temporarily broken. Some went to Maryland at the invitation of 
Governor Stone, deputy of the Catholic convert. Lord Baltimore. 

Throughout this period Protestant Virginia and Catholic Maryland w^ere 
in conflict. Richard Bennett remained loyal to the Parliamentarian movement 
in England and America and to the dissenters whose conception of life, for 
him, carried the lifeblood of the future. He was of solid English background. 
His uncle, Edward Bennett, a London merchant and a planter of Isle of 
Wight, was an elder in the Puritan or Ancient Church, founded in London 
in 1592, which removed to Holland in 1597. Richard Bennett himself was a 
leader in the Puritan Colony which left Isle of Wight, England, before 1635, 
settling first in Nansemond when he came to this continent and then about 
1650 in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. In 1652 he was appointed Gov- 
ernor of Virginia and Maryland for the new Cromwell government, and in 
Virginia he was supported in that year by two Speakers of the House of 
Burgesses who shared his views — in the early part of 1652 by Edward Major 


and later in the same year by Thomas Dew,* known for his Uberal ideas. 
Bennett had gone to England after installation of Cromwell, and he returned 
in 1652 with his gubernatorial appointment and as one of a group of com- 
missioners sent to America aboard an English fleet to receive Virginia's full 
submission to the new government in the European homeland. 

To carry out his assignment as Governor, Bennett proceeded to Maryland, 
where he was assisted by Captam William Claiborne as secretary of state. 
Together they deposed Governor Stone in a proclamation of March 29, 1652, 
divesting him and Lord Baltimore of all authority in the province. By June 
the Bennett government was firmly established in Maryland, he himself being 
back in Virginia. In 1654 Lord Baltimore directed Governor Stone to re- 
establish the proprietary government, and armed resistance to Bennett fol- 
lowed. Bennett's activity in governmental affairs continued, however, until he 
retired to private life in 1657. In Maryland he and many of the Virginians 
who went there to live resided at Providence, which later became Annapolis. 

"Independent" thought in the colony was waxing, not waning, and one 
of those who continuously befriended this manner of thinking was Richard 
Bennett himself. Often the victories of the Established Church were only 
nominal ones — on this side of the Atlantic and across the sea. An important 
evidence of the new trend was the organization in 1648 of the Society of 
Friends in England by George Fox, whose followers came to be known as 
Quakers. Some of the new sect arrived in Boston in 1656, but were promptly 
banned by Massachusetts law and sent back to England in 1657. Virginia 
likewise tried to keep them out. But into both Massachusetts and Virginia 
the Quakers came in increasing numbers, despite opposition, establishing for 
themselves that record of persistence and determination always associated 
with them. 

At that period the Quakers were described as "fanatics courting martyr- 
dom." They readily mocked existing institutions and the rulers of the colony, 
on occasion interrupted public worship at Established Church services, and 
when entertaining strong convictions refused obedience to the law. By 1660 
there were stringent laws against them. Captains of vessels bringing them in 
were fined. All who were apprehended were held until they promised to leave. 
They were punished if they returned after being ordered to leave. If they 
came a third time they were treated as felons. But if, being convicted, they 
would give security not to meet in unlawful assemblies, it was provided that 
"then and from thenceforth such persons shall be discharged from all pen- 
alties." It was Virginia policy not to interfere with an individual's religious 
freedom unless he joined with others against the laws of the land. Even when 

* Also spelled "Due.' 


a member of the House of Burgesses was accused of being a Quaker, he was 
not expelled until he had refused to take oaths of allegiance and supremacy. 

Despite all suppressive measures, the Quakers held public gatherings, 
founded meeting houses and extended their influence. History has shown why 
they were able to do so, their strength arising directly out of the purity and 
depth of their principles. In 1672 Fox himself and his companion, William 
Edmundson, visited Nansemond County on a preaching tour. As Nansemond 
had welcomed Puritan ministers in 1636 and thereafter, it was kind to the 
Quaker leaders, who held meetings "at Nansemond River, where Colonel 
Dew of the Council and several officers and magistrates attended, and at 
Somerton, also at Widow Wright's in Nansemond where many magistrates, 
officers and high people came." An early Quaker leader in Chuckatuck Parish 
was John Copeland, whose nephew was probably Joseph Copeland, caretaker 
of the Statehouse at Jamestown, whose name was unearthed at Jamestown 
on an old pewter spoon fragment marked "Joseph Copeland, Chuckatuck, 
1675" (which, incidentally, is the oldest piece of dated and identified pewter 
in British America).* 

The Quaker faith was widespread, and even Bennett, the county's great 
man, fell under the spell of Fox, whose associate, William Edmundson, wrote 
of Bennett: 

He was a solid, wise man, received the truth and died in the same, leaving 
two friends his executors. Bennett's will dated in 1674 describing himself of 
Nansemond River was proved in court April 1675. He gives to the county 
where he lives and has long lived 300 acres of land, the rents to be received 
yearly by the churchwardens of the parish and disposed of towards the relief 
of four aged and impotent persons. 

Bennett undoubtedly paid passage to Virginia of many who became leading 
"dissenters" of religion and politics. In addition to service as a Burgess and 
as a member of the Governor's Council, he was Governor under the Com- 
monwealth from 1652 to 1655, and after service as agent for Virginia in 
England in 1656 he became a member of the Governor's Council again in 
1658 and so served for the rest of his life. In 1660 he became a major general 
of militia. His associates in the Virginia government, Edward Major and 
Thomas Dew, were both sympathetic with him in matters of general prin- 
ciple, and each served as Speaker of the Assembly while he was Governor. 

It was not easy to be a man of principle in those days in either politics or 
religion, and Bennett was exactly that in both. But he was not without com- 
pany. Two brothers named Jordan worked in both England and America for 
the "truth" as presented by the Society of Friends. According to Chuckatuck 
Meeting House records, Thomas Jordan was born in 1634, "received the truth 

* Worth Bailey, Notes on the Use of Pewter in Virginia during the Seventeenth Century. 


in 1660 and abode faithful in it." He "suffered ye spoiling of his goods and 
ye imprisonment of his Body for ye truth's sake, and continued in ye truth 
to the End of his dayes." 

Then, as now, the Quakers sometimes succeeded where others failed, in 
matters of practical life in the outer world as well as in those of conscience. 
Ofter they were effective in the settlement of land disputes and conflicts over 
wills. Perhaps their very strictness inclined them toward a more clear-cut 
sense of justice, although this is difficult to recognize in the instance of a 
father disowning a son who married outside the Society. 

If the Puritan, Quaker and dissenter influence in Virginia was characterized 
by an iron-like strictness, such was not the rule in Virginia life as a whole, 
where generous hospitality sometimes made life seem lavish. In 1728, when 
a Board of Commissioners was named to determine the boundary between 
North Carolina and Virginia, Colonel William Byrd made an official visit to 
Colonel Andrew Meade near the headwaters of the Nansemond. He noted 
that on leaving the county "we passed no less than two Quaker meeting 
houses. That persuasion prevails much in the lower end of Nansemond County 
for want of ministers to pilot the people to a decenter way to heaven. The 
ill reputation of the tobacco in these lower parishes makes the clergy unwill- 
ing to accept of them except such whose abilities are as mean as their pay." 

So the history of Nansemond County social life is sharply divided between 
a straightlaced dissenter mode of living and, on the other hand, a warm 
hospitality such as to dwarf by comparison anything of the sort known in 
modern times. On visits from house to house the decanter was always open 
in those prosperous days. Consumption of the favorite beverages of the day 
was not considered in any way offensive, even by the vestry and the clergy 
of the Established Church. On occasion a wealthy citizen at his death would 
bequeath specific sums to close friends for the purpose of furnishing supplies 
for the customary wake. When two parsons were arraigned in Upper Parish 
for being too much addicted to drink, it was probably because the low 
salaries offered had attracted ministers who were not of the best quality and 
whom the community did not care too much for anyway. In addition to those 
two, who were so arraigned by the vestry. Parson Agnew gained the com- 
munity's violent dislike — but for other reasons. More anon about Parson 

Before passing on to more serious matters, another reference or two may 
be made to indicate the general attitude toward drink and other matters of 
social behavior. The justice of the peace was an office of high repute in 1700. 
In Nansemond, eight justices of the peace were provided. They were "eight 
of the most able, honest and judicious persons in the county" by definition, 
and the eldest of them was to serve as sheriff, but to hold the office for only 
a year. A justice refusing to serve as sheriff was heavily fined. Also, a special 


act was voted to provide punishment for any justice "overtaken of drink on 
court day." 

Until 1705 county courts were required to provide at every court house 
three essential items of punishment — stocks, a pillory and a ducking stool. 
In the words of one statute, "Whereas oftentimes many brabbling women 
often slander and scandalize their neighbors, for which their poor husbands 
are often brought into chargeable and vexatious suites and cast in great 
damages. Be it enacted that in actions of slander occasioned by the wife as 
aforesaid, after judgment passed for the damages, the woman shall be pun- 
ished by ducking." 

As indicated above, responsibility for care of the poor rested mainly with 
the Established Church. The Quakers took care of their own. In 1755 the 
Assembly passed a measure that every person receiving aid from the parish 
of the Established Church should wear on the shoulder of his right sleeve, 
in open and visible manner, a badge bearing the parish name cut in blue, red 
or green cloth. If any should neglect or refuse to wear this badge, he would 
suffer withdrawal of his allowance or else be whipped, not to exceed five 
lashes, for each offense. In most parishes the law was a dead letter, but for 
some reason it was enforced in Suffolk Parish, at least to the extent of sup- 
plying the badges and making the poor wear them if they were to collect 
their allowances. 

Another law in the early days of the colony required that every man 
"fitting to bear arms" must bring his gun with him to church. The purpose of 
that law was mainly defense against surprise attacks from the Indians. With 
the expulsion of the Indians, this law became dead. But in as much as the 
Nansemond and Nottoway tribes held out to a very late period, so did the 
custom endure in Nansemond County long after it was abandoned along the 

The county court was held in Upper Parish before the creation of the 
Town of Suffolk. It was situated a few miles east of Suffolk. The county 
clerk was appointed by the Governor in Council. In 1734 the county suffered 
a misfortune which was destined to be twice repeated thereafter — the de- 
struction by fire of the house of the county clerk, who then was Christopher 
Jackson. Most of the records were burned. Included in the fire were several 
properties, and special acts of the Assembly were passed to relieve those whose 
possessions were lost in that catastrophe. The earliest historical information 
on the county available from original records inside its borders is that con- 
tained in the vestry books of Upper Parish, beginning in 1744, and Suffolk 
Parish, dating from 1749. 

An early educational institution of the county was the Yeates School, 
established by John Yeates. His will, dated September, 1731, provided 
maintenance for two schools which he built and payment for their teachers. 

Va. 2—10 


He also left provision for a communion service for the church, as well as a 
pulpit cloth and cushion, a great Bible and some theological works, and to 
"my friends, the Gentlemen of the Vestry living this side of the river a treat 
at my house" and to "my worthy friends, the worshipful court of Nansemond, 
ten shillings to drink for my sake." Yeates' will also mentions Rev. Nicholas 
Jones, presumably minister of Suffolk Parish, possibly a schoolmate. 

Much of the early public life of the county was taken up with efforts for 
defense. When an act was adopted in 1667 providing for the building of forts 
in Virginia's different counties, the Nansemond fort commissioners met on 
October 23 of that year. Each fort had to have a place suitable for storage of 
a magazine and had to accommodate at least eight great guns. The walls 
were to be ten feet high and three feet thick on the side facing the river or 
any shipping. Named to work together toward construction of such a fort 
were the counties of Nansemond, Isle of Wight, Lower Norfolk, Elizabeth 
City and Warwick. In 1671 it was decreed that all forts must be repaired with 
brick unless the repairs were minor, and it is on record that the Nansemond 
commissioners met on November 6 of that year to look after the repairs. 

Acts of 1680, 1691 and 1705 concerned the building of towns. The first 
of them, that of June, 1680, an "Act for Co-habitation and Encouragement of 
Trade and Manufacture," is discussed in detail in Chapter XII. In Nansemond 
County a town was to be established at "Colonel Due's Point, alias Huffes 
[Hough's] Point" (now Town Point). This act was repealed in 1681. An 
Act of April, 1691, titled an "Act for Establishing Ports and Markets," re- 
sulted in establishment of a port and market "at Huffes Point where formerly 
by law appointed and accordingly laid out and paid for and built upon 
pursuant to the said law." This second act was also repealed in 1692/3. In 
October, 1705, the third town act was passed "for Establishing Ports and 
Towns (or Burghs)," with the result that a "burgh" or "borough" was set up 
on the Nansemond River under the name of Nansemond. At this town, 
Monday and Thursday were to be set aside each week as market days, and 
after October 15, except for Sundays, there was to be a period of fair days 
where the planters and the Indians would come to trade. Some of the old fair 
grounds abound to this day with remnants of the Indians' stone tools, which 
they used until these were supplanted by guns and steel tools. The Act of 
1705 was repealed in 1710. All of the acts under which this type of community 
growth took place are discussed in detail in Chapter XII. 

In 1740 a ferry was established from Nansemond Town to Hampton. 
The price of a trip was to be 7 shillings 6 pence for a man and his horse. 
If more than one were traveling, the price decreased to 5 shillings. Villages 
sprang up at Somerton, which was at first called Summertown, and at Chuck- 
atuck and South Quay. At South Quay was the dock where many travelers 
took boats to North Carolina. Along the shores of the Nansemond were 


farms where foodstuffs were raised for home consumption and sometimes 
for sale. Tobacco was widely sold. Hunting and fishing were popular then, 
as they are today, and at an early period one man began making fish-hooks 
for use in the colony. An act of 1712 provided for the building of a "rolling 
house" to roll tobacco to the river banks for shipment, and in May, 1720, the 
act was amended to include storage of grain and salt in the same structure. 
In time Nansemond became a center for trading of North Carolina tobacco 
as well as its own with the outside world. Warehouses succeeded the old 
rolling houses — three of them in Nansemond County. One was at Lawrence's, 
one at Sleepy Hole Point, and a third at the widow Constance's, site of 
the present city of Suffolk. The town of Suffolk was established by law in 
1742, to be built at Constance's warehouse. Its development is the subject 
of a separate chapter in this history.* At about the same time the peanut 
made its debut in the area, probably entering the country aboard slave ships 
from Africa. Much of the processing phase of the peanut industry is centered 
in Suffolk. 

Although the peanut appeared early, it did not assume important indus- 
trial proportions until later. It was rather the Dismal Swamp that furnished 
Nansemond County's main commercial activity. Perhaps the early interest of 
George Washington helped to start this trend. In his diary for October, 1763, 
after he had explored the Dismal Swamp as a prospector or engineer in that 
same year, he wrote briefly of the experiences he had had there, and was 
mainly responsible thereafter for the digging of two canals through the 
Swamp, as a result of which a great deal of lumber trade developed in the 

Those were expansive days for Nansemond County. But future events 
were casting before them the shadows of war, which were destined to inter- 
fere with the area's steady forward development. The construction of Vir- 
ginia's fort system has already been mentioned. When the Stamp Act and 
other offensive laws were being passed by the English Parliament, with re- 
sultant rising unrest in Virginia, Nansemond had 644 men in her militia. 
Merchants from Nansemond and Suifolk attended a meeting in Williamsburg 
in 1770 to survey the situation of the colony as a whole and to lay plans for 
meeting the danger. 

Things were coming rapidly to a head. And again the Church figured in 
the developments. Parson John Agnew, mentioned earlier in this chapter, be- 
came intensely active in the spring of 1775, visiting his congregation freely 
and on one particular Sunday urging especially strongly attendance at services 
at the old Glebe Church. The entire church was filled with women, and 
500 men stood outside the building, listening as they leaned at the windows. 

* See Chapter XXIII. 


The minister was heard to read a prayer for the King, which was followed 
by no marked disapproval. Then Parson Agnew announced his text: "Render 
unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's." Developing his theme, he de- 
cried the heinous sin of disloyalty to government. The sermon had advanced 
but a short way when a vestryman and magistrate, William Cowper, left his 
pew, mounted the steps of the pulpit, and ordered Agnew down. Agnew 
said, "I am doing my Master's business." A battle of wits followed — one of 
the opening blasts in the Revolution in Virginia. Cowper's reply was: "Which 
master? Your Master in heaven or your master over the seas? You must 
leave this church or I will use force." "I will never be the cause of breeding 
riot," Agnew said, "in my Master's house." Thereupon the crowd parted to 
form an aisle through which Agnew walked out. Then they quietly dis- 
persed and went their ways. Agnew never returned to the church. 

As the fur)' of the colonies rose to fever pitch over injustices of English 
policy, the episode of Parson Agnew caused wide talk throughout Nansemond 
County. Agnew continued his activity despite warning from the newly formed 
Nansemond County Committee of Safety, which first met July 11, 1774, and 
which held a meeting on March 24, 1775, specifically to deal with the case 
of the Rev. John Agnew, who had continued his activity "against disloyalty" 
despite repeated warnings. Finally the Committee, which was functioning in 
conjunction with similar Committees of Safety in other Virginia counties, sent 
a full report through its secretary, John Gregorie, to the Virginia Gazette, 
which published on April 8, 1775, the "Charges against Parson Agnew." 
After being sentenced by the Nansemond County Court of Commissioners, 
Agnew left the county in that year, and became chaplain of the Queen's 
Rangers, a British troop. He was taken prisoner with his son. Stair Agnew, 
during the Revolution, and was taken to France. 

Subsequent meetings of the Committee of Safety concerned merchants 
who had shipped goods contrary to defense provisions and a woman who 
wrote to relatives in Norfolk about troop movements. War heightened the 
importance of Nansemond County as a whole, and directly affected the lives 
and destinies of local people. At the burning of Norfolk in 1776, Suffolk 
received many of the refugees from that stricken city, with the result that the 
town and county were threatened by lack of food through that difficult 
period. It remains a tribute to the spirit of Virginia that all, however, were 
cared and provided for. 

When the Chesapeake Bay was blockaded by the English, only Albemarle 
Sound in North Carolina remained for the passage of foreign trade. At that 
juncture the tributaries and inlets of the Sound became crucially important 
waterways, and the depot for this commerce in Nansemond County became 
the community of South Quay, on Blackwater River in adjoining Southampton 
County; this river flows into the Chowan River, a tributary of the Sound. 


Materials shipped by this route included government supplies, which were 
carried onward from South Quay by wagon train to Suffolk. The several 
attempts by the British to capture or destroy these supplies failed, and they 
were never able to advance as far as Suffolk. 

The historic Virginia State Convention of 1776 gave the new State its 
constitution, which is described as the first written constitution of a free state 
in history. It embodied George Mason's Bill of Rights. Nansemond County 
was represented in that convention by Colonel Willis Riddick, commandant 
of the County Militia, and William Cowper, who was popular for his role 
in expelling Agnew from Bennett's Creek Church. Colonel Riddick again 
represented Nansemond in the convention of 1788, twelve years later, which 
ratified the Constitution of the United States, his associate from the county 
on that occasion being Solomon Shepherd. 

In 1779 Nansemond County suffered its worst at the hands of the English. 
Sir Henry Clinton had decided to attack Virginia by means of a powerful 
fleet which anchored at Hampton Roads and landed a force under General 
Matthews, occupying Portsmouth and committing extensive devastations. The 
burning of Suffolk on May 13 of that year was an event which more specifi- 
cally concerned Suffolk than any other part of the county and will therefore be 
treated in the next chapter, which is given over entirely to Suffolk's develop- 
ment. But from Suffolk, the fire of the attack spread over considerable dis- 
tances, even crossing the river and sweeping many miles through the marshes. 
Lord Cornwallis crossed the James River from Williamsburg and marched 
through this county, going across the Nansemond River at Sleepy Hole 
Ferry. Also at Suffolk at that troublesome period were Parson Agnew and 
his son. Stair Agnew, chaplain and a captain respectively in the Queen's 
Rangers. During that time the County Court moved its sessions to Chucka- 
tuck, coming back to Suffolk only after the conclusion of hostilities. 

The Established Church was a notable loser from the Revolution. Some 
ministers were loyal to the English. Others were forced into secular work in 
order to survive. Some were in service in the Continental Army. Of an 
original 90 such ministers, scarcely more than twenty still had parishes at the 
end of the war. The Church itself shared the hatred that grew for all things 
English. The vestry became disliked as much as it had once been liked. Many 
counties discontinued the Established Church entirely. In Nansemond, the 
parish churches continued at Bennett's Creek, Chuckatuck and Suffolk. Cypress 
Chapel, established as a chapel of ease for Upper Parish in 1758, became 
Methodist. The church at Suffolk was badly damaged during the British 
occupation. An effort to raise funds by subscription for restoring it failed 
in 1791, and in 1820 the old church was pulled down. The bricks were sold 
at that time. Bennett's Creek Church was in a completely dilapidated condition 
by 1812. It was remodeled and repaired in 1854. The chapels in Upper Parish 


passed out of the Established Church's hands after the Revolution. These 
chapels were without ministers to serve them, and the people offered the 
buildings for use by Methodist preachers who carried on missionary work 
in them. One noted Methodist preacher, the Rev. James O'Kelly, eloquent 
and zealous in his activity, resigned from the Methodist organization in 1793 
along with several other ministers and established the Republican Methodists. 
The Cypress Chapel congregation went along with him in the new venture. 
In 1801 this new organization became the Christian Church. 

Holy Neck Chapel, another Upper Parish chapel of ease, established in 
1748, underwent a similar history. In 1800 a meeting house was built by 
popular subscription in Suffolk on the site of the present cemetery. Baptists, 
Methodists and Episcopalians participated in the effort, and O'Kelly held 
services there for a time. 

Glebe lands were confiscated and sold by legislative act, the proceeds 
going to the overseers of the poor. The glebe in Upper Parish was a case in 
point. In Suffolk, however, Parson Jacob Keeling fought the case in court, 
proved that the land had been a private gift, and won his battle. This valuable 
glebe farm is still held by the trustees of the Episcopal Church in this parish. 

In 1820 an agricultural depression set in, continuing for five years. Pop- 
ulation stopped increasing. There was trading in tar, turpentine and slaves. 
The Dismal Swamp and its juniper forests remained the largest single source 
of revenue. In 1835 the canals of that no-man's-land bore 3,000,000 shmgles 
to the outside world. Farmers began to use the marl so widely distributed 
here for the improvement of their acreages. Crops gained in quality. Indian 
corn became a staple product. 

In the War between the States the county furnished its quota of soldiers. 
The Nansemond County Militia remained well organized in the period that 
followed. It was composed of the Fifty-ninth Regiment, of which Colonel 
Hugh H. Kelly was colonel commandant in 1844. Captains of light infantry 
at that period were Wiley Parker, Jr., R. R. Smith, E. D. B. Howell, Nathaniel 
E. Pruden, John Oberry and Edmund Riddick. There were also a company 
of light artillery and one or more companies of cavalry. Some of these same 
men served in the Mexican War of 1848. The cavalry forces were in com- 
mand of Captain B. D. Smith in 1849. 

In that year Captain Smith petitioned for new arms, and his petition was 
granted. His company became Company I of the Thirteenth Virginia Cavalry 
during the War between the States. Its members were noted in that conflict 
for carrying the old flint and steel pistols provided by act of Legislature in 
1849. Muster Day became a big event in Nansemond County. Legends survive, 
though records are perhaps happily lost, of many a county champion who went 
down to oblivion on its anniversary each year. Political aspirations, too, are 
said to have been kindled on this day. Town fights were settled. The muster- 


ground at which these events developed and passed was situated three miles 
southwest of Suffolk. 

The years from 1835 to I860 were mainly uneventful. In 1837 a great fire 
nearly destroyed Suffolk, and the county buildings, both court house and jail, 
were obliterated. The clerk's offi(e escaped, however, despite the loss of 
130 houses in the community. In 1849 the first newspaper appeared, the 
Suffolk Intelligencer. John R. Kilby, its editor, followed the Whig Party line. 

During the War between the States, Confederate troops held Suffolk until 
the evacuation of Norfolk on May 10, 1862. They then withdrew to the other 
side of the Blackwater River. It was on May 12, 1862, that Colonel Dodge's 
New York Cavalry rode into the town and took possession, and other Fed- 
eral forces supported him in considerable quantities. General Peck took over 
the command in September, and prepared for battle. There were ten miles of 
batteries, covered ways and rifle pits, all well protected. Gunboats in the 
Nansemond River aided the Federal troops. On November 14, 1862, there 
was a skirmish between 300 Confederate soldiers under General Claiborne 
and the New York Mounted Rifles, after which all Confederate forces in 
the area withdrew beyond the Blackwater. 

In the spring of 1863 General Longstreet was in command of forces at 
Petersburg. He crossed the Blackwater to obtain provisions from Nansemond 
County, Isle of Wight and nearby North Carolina areas. He also took 
occasion to make a demonstration against Suffolk, preventing the forces 
there from joining General Hooker's army, which General Robert E. Lee was 
then attempting to draw into battle. On April 11, 1863, with Longstreet's 
advance, came a skirmish on South Quay Road, but the Federal pickets 
were driven back. On the following day there were skirmishes on the Edenton, 
Providence Church and Somerton roads. The Confederates at that juncture 
pushed on to the north bank of the Nansemond, planted a battery near 
Norfleet House, a few miles below Suffolk, and opened fire on the gunboats 
in the river, disabling the Monmouth, the Washington and the West-End. 
These boats drifted on the flats for a time, but were towed off by the 
Stepping Stones and made their way, crippled, down the river. 

Another Confederate battery stood at the mouth of the Western Branch. 
On April 19, 1863, Lieutenant Lamson, of the Federal forces, took Huger's 
Battery by surprise, and a storming party of 500 attacked the fort from the 
rear. The Confederates in that vicinity were commanded by General French. 
They had failed to establish a proper picket line, and consequently Captain 
Stribling, in command of Huger's Battery, was unaware of the Federal troops' 
presence until they were too close to permit of resistance. Moreover, the 
Confederate guns were facing the river and could not be quickly turned in- 
land. The battery was captured and 125 Confederate soldiers were taken 


On April 23 there was a further skirmish at Chuckatuck. On April 24 
the Federal forces made two attacks on the Confederate picket hnes south 
of Suffolk, where there was brisk fighting for a time, but with few casualties. 
On May 3 Longstreet began to withdraw beyond the Blackwater to his 
former lines, and the siege of Suffolk was ended. Skirmishing on that day 
near Hill's Point, Reid's Ferry and Chuckatuck was of a limited nature. Long- 
street tried to get the Confederates to send the gunboat Richmond down the 
James River to the Nansemond, but obstructions in the river prevented. 
He wrote to Lee that he could take the works at Suffolk by assault, but 
that it would cost 3,000 men to accomplish that purpose and the results 
would not justify the sacrifice. Lee wrote in reply: "If you were to capture 
Suffolk, I could not spare men to garrison it." 

During the nearly three years of Federal occupation, the county govern- 
ment was suspended at Suffolk, court sessions being held at the South Quay 
Church. In August, 1865, sessions were resumed in Suffolk. Peter Prentis, 
county clerk, had been arrested by the Federal forces and imprisoned at 
Point Lookout. The county records were taken to Norfolk for the duration 
of the conflict and kept in the Customs House there. They were returned to 
Suffolk at the close of the war. 

On the night of February 7, 1866, after the war was over and such an 
event seemed unlikely, the clerk's office caught fire and was destroyed. Official 
records carefully preserved through war and devastation were thus lost for 
the third time in the county's history, but in a peacetime disaster. It is tradi- 
tional that this disaster was of incendiary origin, instigated by a desire to 
destroy the recorded division of an important estate. 

The county's resources were exhausted from long-continuing support of 
large bodies of occupying armies. From this period Nansemond had to fight 
its way back to a new spirit and to new productivity. So, on the ashes of a 
troublous past, modern agriculture and industry have arisen. 

Like other counties in the area, Nansemond did its share to win two 
world wars, not only by supplying fighting men for the armed forces, but 
by stepping up production of farm products, foods and the necessities of 
life to take care of the vastly increased population in the Port of Embarkation 
area. Those Nansemond County sons who gave their lives in the course of 
duty in World War II were as follows: 

Artis, Louis M., Pvt., A. 

Baker, Spencer, Pvt., A. 

Bemberry, Arthur M., T/Sgt., A. 

Boone, Jessie Quinton, Stlc, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. John W. Boone, 

BOYCE, Emmett L. [See Suffolk City) 


Bradshaw, George R., 2nd Lt., A. 

Bridger, Walter D., Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Willie B. Bridger, Cypress 

Bryant, Junius Mansfield. (See Suffolk City) 

CosciA, Mario S., Pfc, A. 

Catling, Lee E., Pvt., A. 

Hendrix, Edward A., Pvt., A. 

Johnson, Ocie Powell. (See Suffolk City) 

Johnson, Robert Yates. (See Suffolk City) 

Kelleher, Harold J. (See Suffolk City) 

Langston, Henry Garett, Officer's Steward 3c, N. Mother, Mrs. Blanche 
Moore Langston, Holland 

Lewis, Wardell. (See Suffolk City) 

Mayo, Arthur S., 2nd Lt., A. 

Musselwhite, Elwood F. (See Suffolk City) 

Patterson, Thomas, Pfc, A. 

Person, Walter G., S/Sgt., A. 

Pickett, William, T/4, A. 

Powell, Otis Gordon. (See Suffolk City) 

Privott, George William. (See Suffolk City) 

Raiford, Ernest Jackson, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Edward F. Raiford, 

Tadlock, William Thomas. (See Suffolk City) 

Taylor, James Underhill. (See Norfolk City) 

Taylor, Joseph Edgar, Jr. (See Suffolk City) 

Umphlett, Willie Truitt, Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Ann T. Parker Umphlett, 

Walker, Henry. (See Suffolk City) 

Walker, William H., 2nd Lt., A. 

Ward, Wilbur R., Pfc, A. 

Winbourne, Raymond W., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Lilla Winbourne, Buck- 

With Suffolk as an independent city of more than 12,000 population, 
Nansemond County itself raises peanuts in abundance, while Suffolk processes 
them and ships them to the outside world. The area is the world's first in 
quality and quantity of peanut production. A vast market for the nut exists 
in nearby Isle of Wight County and the entire surrounding district, where 
peanut-fed hogs are regarded as the best for production of Smithfield hams, 
another important industry of the district.* The rambling peanut vines also 

* See Chapters XXVII and XXVIII. 


furnish forage for the cattle on farms in the upper portion of Nansemond 
County itself. 

With the commercializing of the peanut, which also found a vast market 
for human consumption after the War between the States, renewal has come 
out of desolation and despair. The county is today prosperous and productive, 
particularly of a wide range of farm products. Farm lands have greatly in- 
creased in value. Stock has improved. Corn and cotton are leading farm 
items, and in the lower part of Nansemond County a tremendous truck 
farming business is carried on. Potatoes, beets, cabbage, kale, peas, beans, 
squash, cucumbers, spinach, melons and berries are among the farm products 
raised. Ships drawing 14 feet of water can now enter the Nansemond River, 
and Suffolk itself is an important railway center, being served by the Norfolk 
and Western, Virginian, Seaboard Air Line, Norfolk and Southern, Atlantic 
Coast Line and Atlantic and Danville roads. The Atlantic and Danville was 
under lease to the Southern Railway System from 1899 to 1949, when it 
once more became independent. Agriculture and peanut production have given 
rise to industries such as farm implement manufacturing, agricultural ma- 
chinery, paper box production, fertilizer, lumber and building materials. 
And Nansemond fish and oysters compare favorably with those of the 

Important highway routes connect the county's communities, with Suffolk 
as a hub of this highway network. United States Route 58 leads from Suffolk 
to Holland, twelve miles to the west-southwest, noted for its peanut and 
lumber production, and to Franklin, in Southampton County. Passing through 
Nansemond County also are Virginia Routes 10 and 32 from Smithfield, 
United States 460 from Petersburg to Suffolk and Norfolk, and United States 
Route 13 southward into North Carolina. Other communities are Somerton, 
near the southern border of the county, and Whaleyville, Cypress Chapel, 
Nurneysville, Magnolia, Driver and Crittenden. Chuckatuck has been fre- 
quently mentioned for its role in the county's history. 

Nansemond County today is a busy center of Virginia's agricultural, in- 
dustrial and professional life. Banking, law and the other established pro- 
fessions find their place in the county's life, and with its sister counties of 
Isle of Wight and Southampton, all of them on the southern banks of the 
James, it forms an important and productive area of Tidewater Virginia. 


References on Chapter XXII 

Joseph B. Dunn, The History of Nansemond County, Va. 

James J. McDonald, Life in Old Virginia, The Old Virginia Publishing Company, Norfolk, Va., 

John Esten Cooke, Virginia — A History of the People, Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, Mass., 

Robert R. Howison, A History of Virginia, Volumes I and II. 

Notes and manuscript material by the late W. E. McClenny, provided by courtesy of his brother, 
J. D. McClenny, of Suffolk, Va. Title: The History of Nansemond County, Va. 

Stanard, Colonial Virginia Register. 

John Bennett Boddie, Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia, Chicago Law Printing 
Company, 1938. 

Suffolk and Nansemond County, published by Tidewater Virginia Development Council, Norfolk, 

Gold Star Honor Roll of Virginians in the Second World War, edited by W. Edwin Hemphill, 
Virginia World War II History Commission, Charlottesville, Va., 1957. 

Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers, pp. 55-63. 

Chapter XXIII 

The Town and City of Suffolk 


By Floyd McK/iight 

IN 1742, BY AN ACT of the Virginia Assembly, a town was established 
at Constance's Warehouse, in Nansemond County. Its main substance 
was fifty acres of land belonging to Jethro Sumner, a part of the estate 
of the late Daniel Sullivan, clerk of the county, which had come to Sumner 
through his wife, nee Margaret Sullivan. The county surveyor, Thomas 
Milner, after whom Milner Street was named, officially laid out the property 
as a town. The purchase price was £3 per acre. Trustees of the new town 
were then named: Lemuel Riddick, William Baker, William Wright, Edward 
Wright, Mills Riddick, John Gregory and Edward Norfleet. 

The name given to this town was Suffolk, in honor of the county of the 
same name on the east coast of England. The English county of Suffolk 
is bounded on the north by Norfolk and on the south by Essex. 

It is probable that in the early days of colonization people from Suffolk 
County, England, came to Virginia. When the east and west parishes of 
Nansemond County* were merged in the early eighteenth century, the name 
of Suffolk first came into use when applied to the new consolidated parish 
thus formed, which was called Suffolk Parish. The similarities between the 
English and the Virginia Suffolks are more than casual. The English county 
is noted for its fine breed of hogs and profitable trading in them, and the 
new Virginia town of the name likewise became famous for its hams and 
bacon. Sir William Gooch, who was Governor of Virginia when Suffolk 
Town was created in 1742, was from Suffolk County, England. The Hon. 
Lemuel Riddick, then representing the local district in the House of Burgesses, 
no doubt thought it would be a wise policy to name the new town after the 
Governor's native county in England. The bill was passed in June, 1742, and 
the last act of the House of Burgesses was to give it to Mr. Riddick to take 
to the Governor for his signature. 

Suffolk was destined to figure prominently in Virginia life in both war 
and peace. It is today the only city lying within the boundaries of Nansemond 
County, although it is fully independent politically from the parent county. 

* See Chapter XXII. 


from which it was spUt off as a city in its own right in 1910. Until that time 
it continued as a town. 

The trustees named in 1742 were to provide, on the fifty-acre plot on 
which the present city had its beginnings, a place for a market, along with 
a quay and wharves and cranes. Each prospective home builder was required 
to erect within two years on his lot after he purchased it a house no less 
than 16 by 24 feet and 8 feet in pitch, or the property reverted to the 

The town was laid out on the neck of land between the two creeks. An 
early resident was Jethro Sumner, already referred to as the original owner 
of the land. Nearby to the east, on Cedar Hill, was the home of the Constance 
family, after whom Constance's Warehouse was named. In fact, the ware- 
house had doubtless begun its histor}' about 1712 as a "rolling house" for 
tobacco, and in 1730 became a full-fledged tobacco warehouse, which was 
also used to store grain and salt. The considerable business drawn to the site 
by the presence of the warehouse was mainly responsible, in actuality, for 
the decision to establish the town of Suffolk at this point. To the east of the 
Constance place was the home of the Aliens, north of which was the Bernard 
home. A family named Pugh lived at Jericho Run. To the southeast lived 
the Riddicks. To the south was Culloden's farm. Westward lived the Meads, 
and nearby the Marches and the Jordans. 

The first houses here were of modest proportions. Many of them were 
built of rough stone rather than bricks, which were scarce. The ancient stone 
underpinnings of some of these houses are still to be seen in the older part 
of the town, though they are gradually vanishing. The Constance cellar, for 
instance, was of stone. Some of the rude chimneys were even made of wood, 
but the building of this type of chimney was forbidden by law in 1745 after 
several dangerous fires, and five years later even the old ones were torn down 
by the owner or the sheriff. 

To accommodate business in the area, a ferry was established over the 
Nansemond River in 1744. It ran from the foot of what is now Main Street 
to Jordan's Point. The Parish Church was built in 1753 at a cost of £595. 
Two years later, in 1755, the Court House and County Clerk's Office were 

The trade that soon centered in Suffolk was sizeable. Tobacco from 
southern Nansemond County and products from as far south as eastern 
North Carolina were brought up to Suffolk for entry into world commerce. 
Ships were then being built which were large enough to take on 300 hogs- 
heads of tobacco. Every product that sought a market anywhere but locally 
had to pass through Suffolk for shipment. It was Nansemond's port. A con- 
siderable portion of this commerce was supplied from the Dismal Swamp, 
which economically could be said to have flourished at that time more than 


any period before or since, largely as a result of George Washington's 
continuing interest in its possibilities.* Washington himself visited the new 
town of Suffolk many times when it was new, planning from here the attacks 
which he was about to make upon the Great Dismal. 

The peanut was then a table luxury for local consumption, prized by 
Nansemond farmers for the Christmas season. For the most part the nut 
was planted on a small scale, usually in the gardens around the houses. For 
a particular social occasion the hostess could replace the nuts that were at 
one time expensive imports with those which she could pick in her own 
garden or yard. The advent of the peanut to Virginia seems shrouded in 
mystery, but the general conclusion is that it was brought to America from 
Africa. One authority has claimed that it was of Egyptian origin, and that 
both the peanut and the potato were cultivated in ancient Egypt from the 
period of the building of the Pyramids. The probability seems to be that 
slaves and slave traders brought the nut to America, the traders using it to 
feed the slaves on the long crossings aboard ship. The American soil and 
climate proved suitable for the new nut's cultivation, and by the later 
eighteenth century peanuts were widely raised for home consumption, though 
they did not become an important item of commerce until after I860. 

Meanwhile, as peanuts and produce were becoming ever more important 
to Suffolk's economy, the new town was heading for a major setback with 
the oncoming of the American Revolution. The English Parliament was 
growing more and more antagonistic to the colonies, of which Virginia was 
the most representative and therefore most symbolic. Laws passed included 
the notorious Stamp Act, which gave rise to great unrest in this Colony. In 
1770 the merchants of Nansemond and Suffolk attended a meeting of busi- 
nessmen of the colony in Williamsburg, where those present surveyed the 
situation confronting the country and did their best to lay plans for the 

The clear view which this and subsequent meetings achieved did not, 
however, seem to alter the course of impending events. Antagonism led to 
greater antagonism and eventually to war. It was but a few short years until 
the colonies were united in a war to the finish against the Mother Country. 
Nansemond County duly appointed a Committee of Safety, which held its 
first meeting on July 11, 1774. Passing a long list of resolutions, the com- 
mittee held its next meeting on March 24, 1775, when the major items of 
business were the case of the Rev. John Agnew, whose preaching had caused 
offense at the Glebe Church, and that of John Thompson, North Carolina 
merchant. The third meeting of the Committee of Safety was held August 18, 
1775, when the cases of two Suffolk merchants, Messrs. Donaldson and 
Hamilton, were discussed. These two merchants had shipped goods which 

* See Chapter XXIV. 


had been captured and taken to Boston, and the conunittee's decision ex- 
onerated them. Still another meeting of the Nansemond County Committee 
of Safety is on record — that which took place at the house of John Aspray 
in Suffolk on November 22, 1775, with Willis Riddick as chairman and 
eleven members participating. Lemuel Godwin was clerk of the meeting. 
The case of Betsy Hunter, brought up at that meeting of the Committee, 
concerned her writing letters to her mother and brother in Norfolk, in which 
she told of troop movements in the county. The Committee of Safety de- 
termined that the case should be at once advertised in the public prints, with 
the recommendation that she, as well as Mary and Martha Wilkinson, who 
knew about the letters, be looked upon as enemies of America. 

Militia from this area was represented at the battle of Great Bridge, and 
when Norfolk was burned by the English, the people of Nansemond and 
Suffolk opened their doors to shelter and feed the destitute refugees. In the 
course of the Revolution, Suffolk became an army depot. Large quantities of 
provisions were stored here, and a detachment of American troops were 
stationed in the town to guard the stores. Shipyards began to construct vessels 
in the Suffolk area, and the Cowpers built two ships, the Dolphin and the 
Marquis Lafayette, both of which did valiant service for the state. Milner's 
was also a depot and a trade center, while South Quay became a port of 
entry and a receiving point for goods from foreign ports. In fact, the fitting 
out of privateer vessels and the arming of them for their voyages against 
the English became a source of great dissatisfaction to the mother country, 
which determined to get rid of them. 

Suffolk's position during the War of the Revolution was a truly re- 
markable one in view of the tremendous stores of materials which were 
kept here for the Army and Navy of this region. In May, 1779, as much as 
8,000 barrels of tar, pitch and turpentine and great quantities of rum and 
brandy were on hand here, and there were also in storage at Suffolk 9,000 
barrels of salt pork and extensive food and military supplies. The Act of 1779 
provided a road between the wharves of Suffolk and Milner's, in Nansemond, 
to Hicksford (now Emporia), so that the provisions might be brought there. 
Also, the old South Quay Road to Suffolk had been straightened and im- 

Suffolk remained a colonial stronghold of commerce until late in the 
war. The English seemed unable to advance upon it, and after they success- 
fully blockaded the Chesapeake Bay the only direct foreign trade from 
Virginia to the outside world had to pass through Albemarle Sound and its 
tributaries. The products which went by this route, whether they were peace- 
time materials or articles of war, came up the Nansemond River to South 
Quay, which served as a center for this war-time trade. From this center the 
supplies were brought by wagon train to Suffolk. 


After trying many other experiments of war, Sir Henry Clinton decided 
in 1779 to attack Virginia directly. His powerful English fleet dropped 
anchor at Hampton Roads, where a force landed under General Matthews. 
Portsmouth was occupied at that time by the enemy, who were enraged and 
committed extensive devastations. Suiifolk was obviously in extreme danger. 
A call to arms was sent out, in response to which 200 men came to the 
defense, all poorly armed. Few had muskets; fewer still, ammunition. What 
they had, they obtained from Captain Bright, who commanded the letter- 
o£-marque brig Mars, lying in the river. He supplied also two cannon, which 
were mounted on cartwheels. 

This company, under Captain Willis Riddick,* marched eighteen miles 
and camped on May 11 in the field in front of Captain James Murdagh's 
house. Three men were sent ahead — Josiah Riddick, Thomas Granbury, and 
Thomas Brittle — to get information on the British advance. Running afoul of 
the enemy, they were captured below Hall's Mill, in Norfolk County, and 
were carried off to New York and kept as prisoners for one and one-half 
years. Two officers. Captains King and Davis, went for the night to a tavern 
about a mile from camp at about the time when this capture of the three 
Virginians was taking place, whereupon further misfortune followed their 
venture. Davis was killed, and King narrowly escaped to come back to inform 
his comrades of what had happened. Colonel Willis Riddick had retired to 
his own house, with the result that Colonel Edward Riddick took charge and 
ordered a retreat to Suffolk. 

Four miles below this town, two men sent out to obtain information were 
able to locate the English, whom they reported to be 600 strong. Next morn- 
ing only 100 local men answered the call to arms, with the result that 
thenceforth it was a question of every man for himself. Resistance seemed 
useless. Some of those who tried to put up some faint opposition made the 
mistake of delaying action in order to retrieve property which they con- 
sidered valuable, with the disastrous result that they also were captured. 

Most of the 100 men escaped, but nothing seemed able to prevent the 
coming of the royal troops to set fire to Suffolk's buildings on May 13, 1779. 
The conflagration spread, sweeping over the Court House, the Clerk's Office 
and street after street of houses and buildings, only the colonial church being 
spared. All county records went up in smoke — a cause of great difficulty to 
this day in putting together a completely satisfactory early history of the 
Nansemond area. 

Houses destroyed included that of Colonel Wilson Riddick, who had been 
packing pork for the Army. Government stores were captured, and on the 
wharves the heads of barrels were knocked in and their contents of tar. 

* In 1783, became an original (charter) member of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of 
Virginia, as Captain of Infantry, 4th Virginia Regiment, Continental Line. 

Va. 2—11 


pitch, turpentine and rum were dumped into the Nansemond River and set 
afire. The winds even blew this lire across the river, where it ignited dry 
twigs and bushes in the marsh area and spread many miles through the 
swampland. General Tarleton returned during that difficult period from an 
elifort to capture the Legislature, and he also joined the English troops at 

Before the close of the war, English soldiers had been sent to burn 
Milner's Town and South Quay. One consignment of Swedish cannon brought 
from France was unloaded by Captain Boritz, of the brig Sacred Heart of 
Jesus, at South Quay and carried overland and used by the American Army. 
To the north of Scott's old field near Lake Prince, however, a battle between 
the Virginia militia and the English resulted in the retirement of the English 
over the creek at Milner's Town. From 1780 onward, until the end of 
hostilities, English troops occupied Suffolk to all practical purposes and the 
community continued to be visited by the English military forces until the 
surrender at Yorktown. 

In 1781 Benedict Arnold crossed the county on his way to Richmond and 
Portsmouth. Later, Lord Cornwallis, with his army, also passed through the 
region on his way to Portsmouth. Both men crossed the river at Sleepy Hole 
Ferry in 1781. This river and its tributaries were used to hide the Virginia 
naval vessels, which were sunk whenever they appeared to be in danger of 
capture or attack by the enemy. In 1781 General Saunders brought more 
reinforcements from Portsmouth. He crossed the river at Sleepy Hole, carry- 
ing off horses and property, and returned by way of Suffolk. Lord Cornwallis, 
crossing the James River from Williamsburg, then marched through Nanse- 
mond County, crossing the river at Sleepy Hole Ferry. An ironic element in 
the presence of the Queen's Rangers at Suffolk was the fact that Parson 
Agnew,* of inglorious fame, was present as chaplain of this group, of which 
his own son. Stair Agnew, was captain. With these numerous developments 
— dismal from the point of view of the defenders of Virginia — the court had 
to be moved away from Suffolk for the duration of the war, and indications 
are that sessions were held during that time at Chuckatuck. 

When the siege of Yorktown started, several of these vessels were brought 
up from beneath the surface and recalled to service, being used to supply the 
American troops with provisions. Colonel Josiah Parker, of Smithfield, was 
in command of the militia in the lower counties during the last period of 
the war. When the entrapment of the British occurred at Yorktown, the 
militia of this section was called into service; and when that campaign had 
ended, they were so confident that victory had been won that they cheerfully 
returned to peacetime activities. 

After the war, it took several years to rebuild Suffolk. Relatively speak- 

* See Chapter XXII. 


ing, recovery was rapid. In 1784 new town trustees were named, and Suffolk 
became at that time a port of entry for American-built vessels, with a sur- 
veyor in charge. 

About 1794 the building of the Jericho Canal opened the way to further 
trade and development, and the commerce passing through this canal* re- 
mained for more than a generation one of the leading sources of revenue for 
Suffolk and Nansemond County citizens. 

In the old days, unhappily now almost beyond memory, one of the leading 
industries was the production of ice. In 1800 an ice company was started in 
Suffolk, which put up ice in winter, storing it for summer use. As an in- 
dication of the extent of the effort, this company actually tried to introduce 
ice into the West Indies, arranging for long shipments to the distant islands. 

In 1808 the town of Suffolk was newly incorporated and a new board 
of trustees was appointed. 

Further hardships of war came when, in 1812, it was feared that the 
English again would attack the area. This time Suffolk was more fortunate, 
however, receiving only one considerable scare when a large fleet of oyster 
boats sailed up the river and was mistaken for an enemy fleet. Around that 
time the militia was stationed at Craney Island. 

With two wars against the English in the background, further progressive 
development took place in Suffolk with the erection in 1815 of a new Clerk's 
Office. By 1820 Suffolk's population rose to about 1,000, most of the business 
being carried on at that period in that part of the town nearest the wharves. 
Most commerce was in tar, staves, shingles, pork, beef, black-eyed peas, with 
some flour and tobacco, for which products the local people purchased sugar, 
coffee, molasses, gunpowder, flints, hoes, axes, jugs, iron pots, grindstones 
and rum. 

On February 26, 1825, General Lafayette visited the town and was 
officially received with considerable ceremony, although he only spent the 

In the Southampton insurrection of 1831, the Town of Suffolk experi- 
enced considerable disturbance. By 1833 Suffolk had 300 houses, twenty 
general stores, four churches, five grammar schools, two lawyers and two 

All was not destined to proceed peacefully and well, however, for in 
1837 Suffolk was visited by another destructive fire. The entire town was 
practically wiped out on that occasion, and afterward its main center of 
activity was established nearer to its present central area, while the older 
portion became largely residential. In 1835 Suffolk had a population of 
approximately 1,200 people. In 1849 the town's first newspaper was started. 
This paper was the Suffolk hiteU'tgeucer. Its founder was John R. Kilby. A 

* See Chapter XXIV. 


year later another newspaper, the Southron, was established by D. J. Goodwin. 

In 1852 two other papers came into existence — the NiUiseiiiovd Inquirer and 
the District Republican. The Rev. W. B. Wellons bought the Christian Sun 
in 1855 and moved it to Suffolk. 

In those days the appearance of things was naturally vastly different 
from that of the present day. No one now alive remembers the old slave 
market, which stood in 1858 where the store of R. W. Baker & Co. was 
later established. That was the year in which a mayor and a Council were 
elected and the Suffolk Savings Bank was established. In 1859 the first bank 
building in the town was constructed on Main Street at the head of Bank 
Street, and in that year the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad was also 

From the earliest days of Suffolk, as in the other parts of Nansemond 
County and the Colony, the Church of England was the Established Church 
prior to the War of the American Revolution. The religious life was centered 
around the church in a way which it is probably hard for modern citizens of 
Virginia, even ardent churchgoers, to appreciate. The clergy occupied a 
position of great importance, and the church ruled over spiritual affairs to 
as great a degree as the state ruled over peoples' public and political lives. 

Church life also underwent important changes. The church actually gov- 
erned people's lives in that whole area in which it was conceived of as having 
authority. In fact, it was financially supported in a way similar to any in- 
stitution of government, namely, by taxes or tithes paid by the people. Every 
citizen was a member of the Church body, just as he was a member of the 
State. The clergy were inducted into office by the Governors, and the authority 
to present a clergyman was vested in a vestry of twelve men elected by the 
people. The vestrymen were generally the most respected members of the 
community, and their duties were ecclesiastical, including the care of the 
poor of their parishes and the holding of all trust funds for such purposes. 
There was a fixed rate of taxation called a tithe, and the vestry were re- 
sponsible for receiving all tithes. The people of Virginia, like those of Eng- 
land, from which they came, were identified with the Church as with the 
State. They were, in fact the Church; and they were the State. The parson 
was also conceived of as being theirs, and his duties were thoroughly defined, 
as was his authority. Every male over the age of 16 years was tithable. The 
taxation rate for tithes in the period between 1750 and 1785 varied between 
28 and 60 pounds of tobacco per poll, a sum which in Nansemond County 
was not too great, because Nansemond tobacco brought only iVs to 2^ per 
pound. It is therefore unlikely that the tithe could ever have been very 
onerous to the people of Suffolk or Nansemond County. The fact that the 
tithe was stated officially in terms of pounds of tobacco is interesting, because 
tobacco was the common currency in those days. The minister's salary was 


16,000 pounds of tobacco a year, and the clerk of the Chapel received 1,000 
pounds. At one period, during a long vacancy in the ministry, the salary of 
the clerk was raised from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds of tobacco. 

In 1744 there were 1,139 tithables in Upper Parish, as explained in 
Chapter XXII on Nansemond County. The county was divided into two 
parishes, the Upper and the Lower, each of which represented a geographical 
portion. The first church in Upper Parish was Old Brick Church, which was 
later abandoned as unsafe. The actual site of that early church is still not 
clear. But after the founding of Suffolk Town in 1742, the Town Church 
(built in 1753) became the Parish Church. There were also several chapels 
with organized congregations, which were served by the same minister. These 
chapels were situated at Somerton, Cypress, Holy Neck and Nottoway. When 
the boundary-line between Nansemond and Southampton counties was changed 
in 1785, Nottoway was made a part of Southampton. 

The manner of caring for the poor under the auspices of the Church 
was also of a very special character. In 1755 the Virginia Assembly passed 
a law that every person receiving aid from the Parish should wear on the 
shoulder of his right sleeve, in open and visible manner, a badge with the 
name of his parish cut into the cloth either in blue, red or green. Any one 
neglecting to wear this badge of poverty, or refusing to do so, would have 
his allowance withdrawn or, according to the law, be whipped, not to exceed 
five lashes for each offense. In most parishes the law became very quickly a 
dead letter, but for some reason it was enforced in Suffolk Parish, at least 
to the extent that the appropriate badges were provided and people were 
made to wear these badges if they were to collect the amounts provided 
for them as needy members of the community. Although 16,000 pounds of 
tobacco per year may sound like a great quantity of that well-known weed, 
the salaries of the clergy were actually very low, with the result that fre- 
quently the talent attracted into the church was by no means of the best. 

One incident of politico-religious history stands out in the entire Tide- 
water area. This is the story of Parson John Agnew, a notable supporter of 
the English cause, although for a long period he did not dare come out 
openly and declare himself as such to his parishioners or to the public. But 
as the Revolutionary War was fast approaching, his tactics became ever 
bolder and more pronounced. In the spring of 1775 Parson Agnew was sud- 
denly observed to be much more busily engaged in the interests of his 
parishioners than had usually been the case, and before one particular Sunday 
service he visited unusually large numbers of members of the congregation 
freely, urging their attendance at church on the following Sunday. 

When that Sunday came, every seat in the church was filled with women, 
and 500 men stood outside the church, leaning at the windows and listening, 
unable to gain admittance to the crowded church. The services began with 


the reading by Parson Agnew of a special prayer for the English King. 
Virginians were not fanatics, and there was no immediate disapproval or 
opposition. Then came the announcement of the text for his sermon: "Render 
unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's." 

In the sermon which followed, Parson Agnew decried and derided the 
heinous sin of disloyalty to government. One of the vestrymen, who was also 
a magistrate, William Cowper by name, at length left his pew, mounted the 
steps of the pulpit, and ordered Parson Agnew to come down. The parson 
rephed, "I am doing my Master's business." Cowper retorted, "Which 
Master? Your Master in Heaven or your master over the seas.-'! You must 
leave this church or I will use force." 

At this juncture Parson Agnew retired as gracefully as possible. 

"I will never be the cause of breeding riot in my Master's House," he 

The crowd in the church thereupon formed an aisle to permit the parson 
to make his exit, after which those hundreds of Suffolk people quietly dis- 
persed and went to their homes. Agnew never returned to the church. 

This episode caused wide consternation and talk throughout Nansemond 
County, as well as in Suffolk, and wherever Parson Agnew appeared there- 
after he continued his activity against disloyalty though he was repeatedly 
warned by the Committee of Safety of Nansemond County, (such a com- 
mittee was formed here as in other Virginia counties) to desist from his 
attitude in favor of the English. At length the Committee sent to the Vir^'mia 
Gazette a report of its point of view, relaying its judgments through its 
secretary, John Gregorie. In its issue of April 8, 1775, the Virginia Gazette 
published what it titled "Charges against Parson Agnew." Agnew left the 
county in that year, after being sentenced by the Court of Commissioners, 
whereupon he became the chaplain of the Queen's Rangers, a British Troop. 
During the time when Suffolk was to all intents and purposes occupied by 
the English, Parson Agnew was present as chaplain of the Queen's Rangers 
with his son. Stair Agnew, who was captain of the troop. They continued 
their activities throughout the Revolution, until finally both were taken 
prisoners and carried off to France. 

Through that whole period another phase of Suffolk's church life was 
taking a definite form. Between 1770 and 1785 a religious revolution was 
closely paralleling the political one. At that time distinctly new religious 
influences were affecting Suffolk and the surrounding region, with far- 
reaching results. The Methodist itinerant preachers, known as circuit riders, 
who had begun visiting the county at an early period, were holding services 
in the abandoned colonial churches, as well as in the private homes wherever 
opportunity offered. At about this same period the Baptist preachers, under 
the leadership of Rev. Edward Mintz, began to visit the upper part of 


Nansemond County and to hold meetings also in private homes and even 
open-air groves. The Western Branch Baptist Church had come into being 
as early as 1779- The Baptists aroused great opposition in some circles, and 
an enthusiastic response in others. On one occasion some of the ministers 
and missionaries of this sect were ducked in the river until they were almost 
drowned. Their ardor was in no way restrained by such opposition, but 
rather seemed to be the more greatly stimulated. 

Men like Thomas Jefferson looked with at least an open mind upon the 
new movements that were taking shape, and Jefferson himself found many 
friends in this area for the Bill of Religious Freedom which he introduced 
in the Assembly. In addition, many petitions supported the new movements, 
which brought to Suffolk and Nansemond County such noted pioneers as the 
Rev. Francis Asbury, who afterward became a Methodist Bishop. Another 
religious leader of the period was the Rev. James O'Kelly, organizer of the 
Christian Church, who came here soon after the Methodists and Baptists. 

The Quakers were also widely influential in this entire region from a 
very early stage. The Society of Friends, as they were formally named, had 
beesn founded in 1648 by George Fox. As early as 1656 members of the group 
had arrived in Boston, from which they had been sent almost immediately 
back to England as a result of stringent laws passed in Massachusetts to ban 
them. Despite accumulating enmity, they kept coming anew and in ever 
greater numbers. Virginia also tried to keep them out, but the Quakers 
seemed only to thrive on fanaticism and martyrdom. When they felt so 
inspired, they readily mocked existing institutions and colonial rulers and 
on occasion interrupted public worship and refused to obey the law. By 1660 
Virginia had very stringent laws against the Quakers, including fines for the 
captains of vessels taking the responsibility of bringing them into the colony. 
All Quakers who were apprehended were held until they promised to leave 
America, and they were punished if they dared to return. If they came a 
third time, they were treated as felons. Even if they were convicted, however, 
provision existed that, once they gave assurance they would not meet in 
unlawful assemblies, "then and from thenceforth such persons shall be 
discharged from all penalties." 

Virginia made a point of not interfering with individual religious free- 
dom unless an individual concerned had gone to the length of joining with 
others to oppose the established laws. Even when a member of the House 
of Burgesses was accused of being a Quaker, he was not expelled until he 
had actually refused to take oaths of allegiance and supremacy. 

As the number of Quakers in Virginia steadily grew, George Fox himself 
came to this region for a visit in 1672. From 1636 onward this portion of 
Tidewater Virginia had welcomed the Puritan preachers from the North, 
and Fox found a similar welcome when he came to this area. He held several 


meetings, which sometimes attracted the attendance of officers, magistrates 
and leading citizens. Some of Nansemond's outstanding residents today are 
descendants of these early converts to the Society of Friends. Even Richard 
Bennett fell under the spell of Fox, whose travelling companion, George 
Edmondson, wrote of Bennett's interest in the new sect. 

With all these "dissenting" religions coming into a position in which they 
vied openly with the established Church of England, the free-thinking ten- 
dencies of the citizenry of Suffolk were early developed and in some cases 
far advanced. The linkage between the religious revolution and the political- 
economic revolution was clear. The end of the Revolutionary War brought 
the decline of the Established Church. Some of its ministers were loyal to the 
British throughout the war — which did not place them in a favorable position 
to resume their employment. Others of them were forced into secular work 
to survive at all through the difficult period of war. Still others left the 
church to enter the Colonial Army and carry forward a battle in which they 
very ardently believed. Of ninety ministers of the Established Church, only 
a few more than twenty still had parishes when the Revolution was ended. 
The church suffered from the common hatred of England and all things 
English, and the vestries of the parishes, once loved and respected in their 
communities, became as disliked as they had formerly been liked. 

Many counties entirely dropped the Established Church, although in Suf- 
folk it was continued. The Suffolk Church building had been damaged during 
the British occupation and the effort to raise funds by subscription to rebuild 
it failed in 1791. Some years later, after the second war against the English, 
the old church was razed to the ground in 1820 and even the bricks were 
sold. The old Bennett's Creek Church, which was in a dilapidated condition 
in 1812, was later remodelled and repaired, so that it was back in functioning 
condition by 1854. The chapels in the Upper Parish passed entirely out of the 
Church's hands after the Revolution, and without a minister to look after 
the needs of these churches the people offered the church buildings to the 
visiting Methodist preachers and other missionaries of more revolutionary 
schools of religious thought. 

Cypress Chapel became Methodist. Sometimes revolution followed revolu- 
tion in religious thinking and adjustments, as was the case with the with- 
drawal of a group of ministers from the Methodist Church to organize what 
they called the Republican Methodists, who became the foundation of the 
Christian Church in 1801. A similar development took place at Holy Neck 
Chapel. In 1800 a meeting-house was built by popular subscription in Suffolk, 
which was free to those of all the varying religious persuasions — Baptists, 
Methodist, Episcopalians and others. 

The glebe lands were sold by legislative act and the proceeds were 
turned over to the Overseers of the Poor. The glebe in Upper Parish was 


disposed of as the act required. In Suffolk, however, this act freeing the 
glebe lands from church control ran into considerable opposition. Parson 
Jacob Keeling fought the case of Suffolk Parish in court, proving that his 
parish's glebe lands had been a private gift, and by so contending he won 
his iight. As a result the valuable Glebe Farm of Suffolk Parish Church is 
still held by the trustees of the Episcopal Church in this region. 

From the earliest time, education was carried out mainly as a personal 
responsibility of the families of Suffolk and this region of Virginia — and 
not always with the best results. Books were naturally scarce and hard to 
obtain, and if obtained were high-priced. Great quantities of work had to be 
done to achieve the building of the community. And there were times when 
communications with the outside world were particularly poor, notably when 
roads were impassable as a result of mud and bad weather. Mail facilities 
were also bad, and travel was restricted. Accordingly, education received 
slight attention. It was therefore a great boon to the region when John 
Yeates bequeathed in 1731 an amount necessary for the maintenance of two 
free schools in his portion of the parish. Aside from such acts of loyal, public- 
spirited citizens, schools were few and teachers underpaid and inadequately 
equipped for the work to which they had been assigned. 

Whatever difficulties presented themselves as obstacles to formal educa- 
tion, however, there is no question that these early Tidewater Virginians 
were well schooled in the practical affairs of life — the business of earning 
a living with their minds and hands in face of the most severe difficulties, the 
building of new communities in which they could live together under con- 
ditions more agreeable to them than had been the case on the other side of 
the Atlantic, and the continuing struggle of defense against a mounting series 
of abuses from the English Government overseas. When the Revolutionary 
War finally brought to an end their grievances against the English, these 
men were able for the first time to cope with some of the more vexing prob- 
lems that faced them in every-day community life. 

After a constant effort to rebuild Suffolk through the forepart of the 
nineteenth century, it became increasingly clear that another war was threaten- 
ing — one very distasteful, indeed, to those who seriously understood the 
circumstances, and one which was to cause considerable havoc to the new 
North American nation. 

As the War between the States came ever closer, Suffolk once more 
became a training camp for troops, not only from Nansemond County and 
nearby North Carolina, but from as far distant places as South Carolina and 
Georgia. When the war actually started, Norfolk was abandoned very early. 
At its evacuation on May 10, 1862, most Suffolk people expected a hot 
pursuit of the Northern victories to extend inland to this town and to 
Nansemond County. Consequently Confederate troops took full charge of 


the community, but were unable to prevent Colonel Dodge's New York 
Cavalry from riding into Suffolk and taking possession on May 12, 1862. 
The Confederates at that time withdrew to the far side of the Blackwater 
River, as Federal troops arrived in force. General Peck took command in 
September, and preparations were made from that time onward for battle, 
with ten miles of batteries turning the whole area into an armed camp. 

On November 14, 1862, there was a skirmish between 300 Confederates 
and the New York Mounted Rifles, after which the Confederate troops, under 
Colonel Claiborne, retired beyond the Blackwater River. In the spring of 
1863, General Longstreet, commanding forces at Petersburg, crossed the 
Blackwater to obtain provisions from Nansemond County, Isle of Wight 
County and nearby areas of North Carolina. It was also their intention to 
make a definite demonstration against Suffolk, preventing the forces there 
from joining up with General Hooker's Army, which at that time General 
Robert E. Lee was endeavoring to draw into battle. 

On April 11, 1863, Longstreet advanced on Suffolk. There was a skirmish 
on South Quay Road, as a result of which the Federal pickets were driven 
back. On the following day there were skirmishes on the Edenton, Providence 
Church and Somerton roads. The Confederate Forces at that time pushed on 
to the north bank of the Nansemond River, planting their battery near the 
Norfleet house, a few miles below the town of Suffolk. There they were 
able to open fire on the gunboats in the river, and so succeeded in disabling 
the Monmouth, the Washington and the West End, all three of which vessels 
drifted on the flats for a time but were finally towed off by the Stepping 
Stones and fell limping down the river. 

Another Confederate Battery established a position at the mouth of the 
Western Branch. On April 19 Lieutenant Lamson, of the Federal forces, 
took Huger's battery, at Hill's Point, by surprise. A storming party of 500 
attacked the fort from the rear, and because no one had expected this type 
of attack, the Confederate Army in the neighborhood, under the command 
of General French, had failed to establish an adequate picket line. Captain 
Stribling, in command of Huger's Battery, was completely ignorant of what 
was happening until it was too late for action, the Union troops being too 
close at hand to permit of adequate resistance. Besides, the guns were all 
facing the river, and could not quickly or easily be turned to face where 
they were needed. The result was that the battery was captured and 125 men 
were taken prisoner. 

On April 23 a further skirmish took place at Chuckatuck. It was followed 
on April 24 by two attacks by Federal troops on the Confederate picket lines 
south of Suffolk. There were several sallies of brisk fighting on that occasion, 
but few casualties. On May 3 Longstreet began to withdraw beyond the 
Blackwater to his old lines, and the siege of Suffolk was ended. Skirmishing 


took place on that day near Hill's Point, Reid's Ferry and Chuckatuck. The 
activity was actually very limited, however, and affairs seemed to be definitely 
quieting down. 

Longstreet tried to get the Confederates to send the gunboat Richmond 
down the James River to the Nansemond River, but obstructions in the river 
prevented. Longstreet wrote to Lee that he could take the works at Suffolk 
by an out-and-out assault, but that such an attack would cost 3,000 men. The 
project was abandoned, because it was not considered to be worth the 
sacrifice involved. "If you were to capture Suffolk," General Lee wrote in 
that connection, "I could not spare men to garrison it." 

During the nearly three years of Federal occupation of Suffolk, the gov- 
ernment of the county was suspended. Court sessions had to take place 
elsewhere, as, for instance, on February 8, 1864, at South Quay Church. 
In August, 1865, sessions were again held at the Court House in Suffolk, 
although Peter Prentis, the county clerk, was arrested by Federal forces and 
imprisoned at Point Lookout. During the war, the county records were taken 
to Norfolk, where they were kept in the Customs House. They were not 
destroyed, however, but were returned to Suffolk at the close of the war. 

What war had left unmolested, an irony of peacetime was destined to 
destroy. It was the night of February 7, 1866, that the clerk's office in 
Suffolk caught fire and was totally wiped out. All the records kept safe 
throughout the War between the States were thus lost for the third time 
in the county's history very soon after the restoration of peace.* Thus 
Suffolk, exhausted by support of large numbers of occupying troops during 
the war, had to begin life over again, as the record itself had to start anew 
with new County Court House files covering the history and accomplishments 
of this region. 

From a community which housed 60,000 Federal troops during the 
Union occupation, Suffolk dwindled in size until there were only 300 people 
in the entire town. With the end of the war, rebuilding started once again 
in this stricken community. In 1869 the Farmers' Bank of Nansemond gave 
the community an important financial basis, mainly through the work and 
influence of Dr. William B. Wellons and his friends. The new bank experi- 
enced a rapid growth under the management of Colonel John R. Copeland 
and William H. Jones, Jr. 

In 1871 the public school system began. Suffolk's School Board was 
composed of John R. Kilby, E. B. Britt and William D. McClenny, with 
R. L. Brewer, Sr. as superintendent of both county and town schools. The 
schools were operated for three months of the year, and were attended by 
186 white and l4l colored children of school age in the town. The school 

* One local tradition has it that the fire was of incendiary origin, resulting from a dispute over 
an estate and the desire of parties concerned to destroy the records relating to it (Editor's Note). 



program had been sufficiently successful by 1874 for the public schools to be 
able to run four months instead of three. 

In 1872 a new town charter was granted, providing for town offices, 
including a sergeant, a clerk, an assessor, a treasurer, an overseer of the poor 
and a street commissioner. In 1873 the Suffolk Herald was established. The 
Commercial Bank opened its doors and a tannery was constructed on Spring 


In 1879 the limits of the Town of Suffolk were enlarged. The first Town 
Hall and Market House was built at Main and Market streets in that year, 
and in 1881 the Suffolk Cotton Mills came into being and the Seaboard Air 
Line Depot was erected. It was about 1885 that Lake Kilby was purchased 
to supply water for Portsmouth, Berkley and Suffolk. In June of that year 
another destructive fire came to the town, destroying Suffolk's entire business 
district. In the rebuilding that followed, the Baker Building was put up. 
In the same year a steamship line to Norfolk was established. In 1886 Suf- 
folk was definitely a lumber center, with about $1,000,000 invested in this 
industry by local citizens. Still another fire came to Suffolk in August, 1888, 
once more practically wiping out the business district. 

Never did these disasters seem to prevent the community from re- 
establishing itself, and usually it was the case that each new Suffolk, rising 
from the ashes of disaster, was greater than the one that preceded it. In the 
year following the fire of 1888, the First National Bank was opened for 
business and the Law Building was erected. In 1890 the first electric light 


plant was established, and in 1891 street car tracks were laid. Thus the basis 
was established for the creation of modern Suffolk. By 1893 the first telephone 
exchange was opened here, and at about the same time the W^eek/y Observer 
was established as a community newspaper. In 1890 there were 697 children 
of school age in the town. In 1894 a new County Clerk's Office was built. 
The Bank of Suffolk was organized in 1899. 

By the turn of the century Suffolk had definitely taken on new life, and 
was on its way to becoming thoroughly modern. Since that time new factories 
have come into existence and old ones have increased their capacity, with 
the result that Suffolk is now the largest peanut market in the world, and 
the products of its factories and shops are sent to all parts of this country 
and to many nations beyond the seas. 

Since 1910 Suffolk has been a city. It was on October 1 of that year that 
this changeover in municipal government took place. Since that time Suffolk 
has had its own city officers and courts, and has been completely separated 
politically from the rest of Nansemond County, although naturally the same 
friendly relations exist now between city and county as has always been the 
case in the past. 

In 1911, the erection of a new United States Post Office Building was 
initiated. Two new banks, the American Bank and Trust Company and the 
Phoenix Bank of Nansemond, an institution for colored people, have been 

The Suffolk News Herald was established as a daily paper at about that 
time, and school facilities were greatly improved by the construction of five 
large buildings. Three impressive white bank buildings were erected in the 
business district, and the large Planters Nut and Chocolate Company became 
one of the outstanding industries in the entire state. Planters Peanuts are 
known far and wide, and no*^. only have a world-wide market, but bring a 
knowledge of Suffolk and Virginia to people in all parts of the United States 
and elsewhere throughout the world. Other developments of the early years 
of this century included the enlargement and improvement of the Suffolk 
Fire Department, the grading and paving of streets, the rebuilding of many 
churches in the area and the modernizing of these and other cultural in- 
stitutions. The water system was also improved, and Suffolk's lighting facil- 
ities early became outstanding in the state. A new gas supply system was 
established early in the century to provide Suffolk homes and businesses with 
light and heat. 

Throughout the era of modern Suffolk, many large new homes have 
arisen, and new residential districts have been developed and business areas 
created. The sewer system has been enlarged and improved. 

Modern Suffolk was destined not to advance in uninterrupted peace, for 
like other communities throughout America, it was affected by the three more 



recent wars — the Spanish-American War, which began with the blowing up 
of the United States Battleship Maine in Havana Harbor on February 15, 
1898, and the two World Wars, which have interrupted and changed the 
entire social life of the twentieth century. In the Spanish-American conflict, 
Suffolk and Nansemond County provided two companies of volunteer soldiers, 
who spent nearly a year of service in the United States and Cuba. 

(Courtesy Norfolk Chamber of Commerce) 

Less than two decades were destined to pass before World War I began, 
and on April 6, 1917, involved the United States, which declared war on 
that date against the Imperial German Government. War preparations in- 
volved the strengthening of a local military company in Suffolk, which was 
ordered to recruit up to war strength, first serving at the local armory, then 
proceeding to camp. On June 5, all men between 21 and 31 years of age 
in this community were required to register for the National Army, and the 
Nansemond Draft Board registered 2,151 men. Soon these men were ex- 
amined and sent to camp — at first only a few at a time, beginning September 5, 
1917. As time went on, however, the contingents grew larger until there was 
hardly a week in which some men from Suffolk were not called into service. 
This situation continued until the signing of the armistice and the close of 
fighting on November 11, 1918. 

The Nansemond Draft Board's report showed that 1,119 men had been 
sent into service in World War I from this community; but this number did 
not include many who volunteered for service and who did not come under 
the Draft Board's jurisdiction. Suffolk also organized a Home Guard service, 
to which everyone available rallied. The role of women in modern warfare 


came into its own at that time, and as concrete results important Red Cross 
work and other war activities were handled effectively by citizens of both 
sexes and in all walks of life, and Suffolk went over the top in the sale of 
Liberty Bonds in every bond campaign. Nine men from Suffolk and Nanse- 
mond were cited for bravery, while forty-one made the supreme sacrifice — 
thirty-one white men and ten colored. Many others were wounded. When 
the war was ended, the soldiers returned home to engage once more in civil 
life and help build up the county. 

Suffolk likewise rendered notable service in World War II, and many 
local sons entered the armed services in support of the country's cause. Some 
never returned, having made the supreme sacrifice in the course of duty. 
These were: 

Baggett, Lee C, II, Sgt., M. Wife, Mrs. Gladys Duval Baggett 
Bagley, Joseph H., 1st Lt., A. Mother, Mrs. Margaret W. Bagley 
Barnes, John Goode, S/Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Eleanor D. Wills 
Benton, Clyde Earl, BM2c, N. Mother, Mrs. Wallace Benton 
Benton, Howard W., Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Bernice L. Benton 
Blackman, James Leo, S, N. Wife, Mrs. James L. Blackman 
Boyce, Emmett L., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Maggie E. Boyce, R. F. D. 2 

(Also Nansemond County) 
Brinkley, Wallace Raymond, Ens., N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace 

Brinkley, R. F. D. 2 
Brittingham, John, Ens., N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Brittingham 

(Also Lunenburg County) 
Bryant, Junius Mansfield, T/5, A. Father, John William Bryant 

(Also Nansemond County) 
CoHOON, George Urquhart, Cpl., A. Mother, Mrs. Sue Urquhart Cohoon 
Cross, Alphonso, T/5, A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Cross, R. F. D. 2 
Duke, Mills E., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Dora L. Duke 
Dunn, Willis Allen, S/Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Wilkie Dunn 
Grady, Robert C, Jr., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Vema J. Grady 
Harrell, Clarence W., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Ruth S. Harrell 
HowLE, Baxter McLendon, AMM3c, N. Wife, Mrs. Mary Oneida Outlaw 

Hudson, Charlie Thomas, T/Sgt., A. Father, Henry Clay Hudson, Detroit, 


(Also Halifax County) 
Johnson, Donald Milby, 1st Lt., M. Wife, Mrs. Harriett Eloise Brown 


(Also Isle of Wight County) 


Johnson, Ocie Powell, Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Bessie E. Powell Johnson, 
R. F. D. 3 

(Also Nansemond County) 
Johnson, Robert Yates, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Bessie E. Powell Johnson, 
R. F. D. 3 

(Also Nansemond County) 
Jones, Frank W., Jr., FO, A. Mother, Mrs. Naomi K. Jones 
Kelleher, Harold J., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Virginia L. Kelleher, R. F. D. 2 

(Also Nansemond County) 
Lewin, Charles T., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Ethel O. Lewin 
Lewis, Wardell, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Annie M. West Lewis, R. F. D. 4 

(Also Nansemond County) 
Lucas, Perry A., T/Sgt., A. Brother, Harry Lucas 
Mason, Linwood, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Amy Mason 
Matthews, Edward E., Jr., Pfc, A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward E. 

Musselwhite, Elwood F., as, C. Father, Ashbern M. Musselwhite, R. F. 
D. 4 

(Also Nansemond County) 
Pinkerton, Raymond Everett, S3c, N. Wife, Mrs. Mortley Roberts Pinker- 
Powell, Otis Gordon, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Susie E. Taylor Powell, 
R. F. D. 3 

(Also Nansemond County) 
Privott, George William, Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Margaret L. Babb Privott, 
R. F. D. 1 

(Also Nansemond County) 
Roberts, Ralph C. Jr., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Maurine E. Roberts 
Shilsky, Samuel, Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Fischel Shilsky 
Solomon, Walter D., Sgt. Mother, Mrs. W. B. Solomon 
Tadlock, William Thomas, GM2c, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward 
Perry Tadlock, R. F. D. 3 
(Also Nansemond County) 
Taylor, Joseph Edgar, Jr., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Bernice Worthan Taylor, 
R. F. D. 1 

(Also Nansemond County) 
Walker, Henry, 2nd Lt., A. Mother, Mrs. Bradsley Key Walker 

(Also Nansemond County) 
Walstrom, Harold Alvin, Acting Pay Clerk, N. Wife, Mrs. Margaret Jane 

Wilkins, Ernest L., Jr., Cpl., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest L. Wilkins 

Va. 2—12 


Winer, Bernard Abraham, Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Irene Rose Stutson Winer 

(Also Richmond City) 
Wood, Roosevelt, Mess Att.3c, N. Mother, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Peoples, 
R. F. D. 2 

The relations between the white people and the Negroes have been 
harmonious in Suffolk and Nansemond County. The Negro, of course, became 
a resident of the county at a very early period. During the American Revolu- 
tion some members of the Negro race served in the American forces from 
Nansemond County, notably in the Virginia Navy. There were several who 
remained loyal to the Stars and Bars during the War between the States, 
and who afterward received substantial pensions for their faithful service 
to the state at that time. During World War I one Negro from Nansemond 
County received the Distinguished Service Cross and was cited by the Com- 
mander-in-Chief, General John J. Pershing, who like other famous generals 
— Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston — and William J. Bryan — have 
visited or spoken in the county or have passed through it. Today, as in the 
past, relations between the races continue harmonious. 

Modern Suffolk, despite the fact that it has been a city since 1910, has 
basically an agricultural economy which centers about its world-famous peanut 
industry. The numerous peanut-processing companies in Suffolk and nearby 
places date from the founding of the Suffolk Peanut Company on January 20, 
1898. The creation of that company was immediately followed by the 
establishment of other peanut factories — a process which continued until 
Suffolk became the largest peanut market in the world, as well as one of 
the leading producers of candy in the United States. A large portion of the 
peanut crop is purchased by Planters Nut and Chocolate Company, which 
established a processing plant in Suffolk in 1913 and is now the city's largest 
industry, with facilities spread over 176 acres of land. Its payroll goes to 
about 1,800 employees. Planters purchases about $15,000,000 worth of pea- 
nuts annually from farmers in the peanut-producing area. The association of 
candy and nuts is a natural one, and the markets for the two are closely re- 
lated. The Virginia type of peanut is regarded as particularly excellent, and 
is welcomed for feeding the hogs used in the Smithfield ham industry, as 
well as for shipment for human consumption to the North of the United 
States, particularly since the close of the War between the States, and now 
to all parts of the world. The value of the peanut crop in this area is more 
than $60,000,000 per year. Among the older manufacturing plants contribut- 
ing to Suffolk's prosperity are the Benthall Machine Company, makers of 
peanut pickers and other farm machinery for domestic and foreign markets; 
the National Screen Company; Farmers, Inc.; Ferguson Manufacturing Com- 
pany; H. L. Warren Lumber Company; Ramsey Lumber Company; Johnson 


Lumber Company; Virginia Casket Company; Roanoke Webster Brick Com- 
pany; Suffolk Coca-Cola Company; Suffolk Oil Mills; Dixie Guano Company; 
Joel E. Harrell and Son; Nansemond Truck Package Company; Sheffield 
Lumber Company; and the National Produce Division o£ the Atlantic and 
Pacific Tea Company (formerly Farmers Nut Corporation). 

Processing plants include American Cold Storage, Birdsong Storage Com- 
pany, Columbian Peanut Company, Eberwine Cannery Company, Lummis 
and Company, Parker Peanut Company, Pond Brothers Peanut Company, 
Suffolk Peanut Company and Virlina Peanut Company. Suffolk has three 
banks, and Holland and Whaleyville have their own banks. 

Other industries which have prospered in this region include meat pack- 
ing, lumber, tea processing and the manufacture of farm implements, veneer 
baskets, screen doors and windows, creosoting, cinder blocks and bricks, marl 
dredging, and oystering and fishing. The products emanating from these 
numerous industries furnish both state and nation with needed merchandise, 
and in variety alone attest the importance of Suffolk and Nansemond County 
to the nation's economy. The Lipton Tea Company plant employs 200 persons 
and can process 15,000,000 pounds of tea per year. 

Dairying and food processing constitute other important activities in the 
local economic life, as do contracting and engineering services. Suffolk's ex- 
cellent transportation facilities have played an important part in the industrial 
growth of the area, there being five major railroads with terminals in this 
city, a deep-water channel to the sea to handle barge and small inland vessel 
traffic, thirty interstate truck lines providing services of value particularly 
to the truck farming interests of southern Nansemond County, and in more 
recent times a municipal airport which was turned over to the city by the 
Navy and is capable of handling the largest of transport planes. 

The very names of Suffolk's industries suggest the reason why this city 
is the trade center of this prosperous agricultural area and why it has de- 
veloped shopping facilities of unusual excellence, with many modern local 
and chain stores and extensive downtown parking facilities. The public 
utilities — electricity, natural gas and telephone — are thoroughly modernized 
and completely adequate to serve present needs and to expand for future 
growth. Electricity is supplied by the Virginia Electric and Power Company 
from its local Suffolk offices. The Suffolk Gas Company distributes natural 
gas, and the Commonwealth Natural Gas Corporation serves portions of the 
surrounding area of Nansemond County. Telephone service is supplied by 
the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, which operates a complete 
dial system in Suffolk. Excellent water is supplied from the many nearby 
fresh-water lakes through a modern filtration system. These lakes also provide 
excellent facilities for fishing, not only for commercial purposes, but as one 
of the important recreational pursuits of Tidewater Virginia. The Great 


Dismal Swamp and Lake Drummond, both treated in a separate chapter of 
this work, now serve as further sources of recreation for hardier souls who 
wish to explore them under the leadership of trained guides. Modern facilities 
for golf and swimming are also supplied for local citizens, and fishing and 
hunting opportunities are numerous. 

The present modern school system is well supervised, and holds the 
confidence and interest of the entire community. Suffolk High School, with its 
beautiful modern building, trains students for a wide range of services in the 
economic life as well as for entry into advanced institutions of learning 
throughout this country and other parts of the world. There are many modern 
churches to satisfy the religious requirements of all faiths, and they are well 

Public health and medical services are provided by a modern city-county 
health center, the $2,500,000 Louise Obici Memorial Hospital and School 
of Nursing, a 151-bed institution constructed in 1951. Forty-five physicians 
and dentists serve Suffolk and its environs. 

Recreational activities also include six active garden clubs operating in 
Suffolk, with a total of more than 225 members. Their continuous program 
of beautifying the area's gardens and landscaping have added greatly to the 
city's attractiveness. There also exists a full-time recreational program for 
children, which is under professional supervision. Never to be forgotten, top, 
is the proximity of Virginia Beach, world-famed and only forty-five minutes 
distant by automobile from Suffolk. 

Suffolk has, in addition to five banks with assets now totaling more than 
$40,000,000, two building and loan associations to take care of its financial 
needs. The Suffolk News Herald, an afternoon daily newspaper, continues 
to serve the area, and Suffolk also has its own Radio Station WLPM, an 
ABC affiliate providing excellent news coverage and advertising facilities, as 
well as a vast range of entertainment, reaching the entire trade and resi- 
dential area. 

The well-drained land of modern Suffolk and vicinity averages 55 feet 
above sea level, and provides building sites for all types of new construction. 
The community's appeal has added substantially to its population and po- 
tentialities in recent years, and its role in Tidewater Virginia affairs is an 
ever-increasing one. 

References on Chapter XIII 

Joseph B, Dunn, The History of Naiuemond County, Va. 

W. E. McClenny, Origin of Suffolk's Name, manuscript provided by J. D. McClenny, of Suffolk, Va. 

W. E. McClenny, History of Suffolk, Va.. manuscript provided by J, D. McClenny, of Suffolk, Va. 

Material provided by Suffolk and Nansemond County Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk, Va. 

Gold Star Honor Roll of Virginians in the Second World War, edited by W. Edwin Hemphill, 

Virginia World War II History Commission, Charlottesville, Va., 1957. 

Chapter XXIV 

The Great Dismal Swamp 

By Floyd McKnight 

DEPENDING UPON THE POINT of view, the Great Dismal Swamp 
is variously regarded as one of the world's outstanding scenic 
wonders, as a potential source of untold natural riches, or as a 
veritable hell on earth. No lesser an authority than the nation's first President, 
the Father of our Country, had such faith in its possibilities that he organized 
a company to develop its resources after making personal explorations in 
1763, a faith that was at least rewarded in the naming of the Washington 
Ditch and George Washington Highway, two major engineering projects 
which have left some enduring impression upon an area seeming almost be- 
yond the reach of civilization. Another famous Virginian, Colonel William 
Byrd, who named the region "The Dismal"* in 1728, referred to it as 
reeking with "noxious vapors that infest the air." 

Perhaps all the varying estimates and shades of opinion expressed regard- 
ing this grim and mysterious expanse are true. Certainly in season it is a place 
of rare beauty. A trip through its canals is a wonderful summer day's experi- 
ence, with overhanging gum and cypress and red maple branches meeting 
and intertwining and the bald knees of the cypress trunks rising fantastically 
to the bodies of great trees. But each man may guess as accurately as the 
next how many members of the human race have perished beyond sight or 
sound or knowledge in the waters and quicksands and fern-thick forests that 
serve first as an enticing lure, then as a foul snare, to even many a hardy 
adventurer. Only wild conjecture may surmise even the number of dogs that 
have vanished practically from under the very noses of their huntsman- 
owners in the stretches of this weird no-man's-land; and the legends of these 
domestic beasts gone wild and roaming mad through the forest dimness may 
be based upon fact or fancy. There are tales, too, of mad lovers seeking their 
lost mates, only to become lost themselves in a morass of mists and water and 
mire and the eerie screams of horrible night-birds and even the wailing of 
unearthly ghouls. Perhaps the dreams of money to be made from the region's 

* The word was formerly a noun (Webste') ; thus "a dismal" meant a dismal or cheerless 


lumber and its by-products are factual; perhaps they also are predominantly 
legend. But George Washington thought enough of its potentialities to take 
the initiative in organizing "The Adventurers for Draining the Great Dismal 
Swamp," and even to value his 4,000 acres of swamp land at $20,000 in his 
last will and testament. 

Science has dreamed up many a project surmised to be suitable for de- 
velopment in this vast, mysterious acreage. The only wonder is that through 
decades, even centuries, the Great Dismal remains largely undeveloped, 
undrained, for the most part unknown, despite the supposed eagerness of so 
many scientists and engineers to devote their imaginations and faculties to 
new and bold undertakings. Or it may be that even the Dismal Swamp awaits 
the advent of some latter-day Washington to perform this almost super- 
humanly challenging feat. When travel to the moon seems only around the 
corner, one cannot but wonder if that engineering achievement will win in 
point of time over the cleaning and reducing to a status of usefulness of the 
Great Dismal. Ask the average Virginian, and he shrugs his shoulders hope- 
lessly. As to legends of descendants of Nansemond Indians, fugitive slaves, 
escaped criminals and others gone wild and living within the confines of the 
Big Swamp, no Virginian gives much credence to them, because none who 
has come within shooting distance of the Swamp has been able to conceive 
how any two-footed form of life could long endure here. 

Perhaps the name of the area has in itself been a deterring factor in its 
development. Ancient etymological usage identifies "dismal" with "evil days," 
even "Satan"; in southern United States the term has taken on the additional 
meaning of "swamp" or "bog." One of the two thieves crucified with the 
Founder of Christianity was named Dismas. When Colonel William Byrd 
paid his first attention to the area in 1728, he doubtless saw it as "dismal." 

Dismal Swamp extends actually a distance of fifteen miles in Virginia and 
twenty-five miles in North Carolina, running north to south, and is about 
fifteen miles wide. It contains about 400,000 acres [600 sq. mi.}. In its central 
portion is Lake Drummond, where two man-made canals, Jericho and Wash- 
ington Ditches meet. The canals were dug by the Dismal Swamp Land Com- 
pany more than a century ago. They make possible the single major industry 
of the region — lumbering. Over a long period of years those venturing upon 
this lonely and hazardous occupation have carted away great cargoes of 
juniper and cypress wood through these hoUowed-out channels. 

Lake Drummond is almost circular in form, about three miles in diameter. 
It was named after a hunter who with three companions came here in the 
early days of European settlement in Virginia. His companions perished or 
were lost. William Drummond alone returning to become the white man's 
first informant regarding the beautiful, round lake hidden away like an amber 
jewel amid the juniper and cypress. He later became first Governor of 


Albemarle (North Carolina), and was hanged for his role in Bacon's Re- 
bellion in 1677. 

The lake is, strangely enough, the most elevated part of the Dismal 
Swamp. Scientific-minded visitors to the swamp's interior tell of vast deposits 
of vegetation at the lake's edges. From its margins the rest of the swamp 
land tapers off in all directions at an inclination of about 20 inches per mile 
toward the periphery — sharply enough to provide a strong current in ditches 
three feet deep and four feet wide. Ditches, natural as well as man-made, 
maintain their banks in good order as a result of this favorable slope and 
the vegetation and rootage established by time and growth. 

The water of Lake Drummond is wholesome. It takes on its amber color- 
ing from the gum and juniper trees abounding in the nearby woods, and 
is often referred to as "juniper water." The keeping properties of "juniper 
water" are excellent. Some claim that its taste resembles that of sassafras 
tea, though even these representations of its virtues seem frequently to subject 
it to the danger of becoming as legendary as some of the persisting rumors 
about the Great Swamp itself. The saner type of record, however, tells how 
vessels leaving Norfolk on long cruises used to fill great barrels with 
Drummond's "juniper water" in preference to all other waters. Even today 
people bring it home with them in great casks. 

The tale is told of a hunter who once ventured into the area equipped 
with a flask of stronger drink, and who stopped for the night at that hostelry 
said to have been built for "sportsmen and ghouls" about 1850, the Lake 
Drummond Hotel. In the room assigned to him was another bottle containing 
water from Lake Drummond. Upon quenching his thirst with a good draught 
of Drummond water, he suddenly became aware of its sassafras-like taste and 
observed its amber color. And in the overwhelming loneliness of the per- 
vading gloom and the fright attending his discovery, that horror-struck hunts- 
man was seized with an attack of what he could not for certain identify as 
delirium tremens or the death-throes of accidental poisoning. Nor were 
matters greatly helped by his ensuing drink from his own original flask, in- 
tended to induce forgetfulness of the whole ugly nightmare and even to ease 
the last agonies if such they were to be. 

If fantasy and truth seem eerily intertwined with respect to Dismal Swamp 
lore, some satisfaction may be drawn from the fact that about such a place 
poetry may tell more of the truth than the practical-minded truth-teller may 
achieve with greatest effort. In 1803 the Irish-born poet, Thomas Moore, was 
commissioned by Lord Moira as registrar of the Admiralty Court at Bermuda. 
Moore made the trip to Bermuda, but, almost immediately appointing a 
deputy to take over, he returned to Europe by way of the United States and 
Canada, and, what is more important to the present narrative, learned of 
Virginia's Dismal Swamp. Specifically, he heard the legend, said to date from 


Indian culture, of a bride who became lost in Dismal Swamp and whose lover 
trailed her only to achieve his own doom. So impressed was Moore with the 
fanciful story that he wrote "A Ballad — The Lake of the Dismal Swamp." 

They made her a grave too cold and damp 

For a soul so warm and true; 
And she's gone to the lake of the Dismal Swamp, 
Where all night long, by firefly lamp, 

She paddles her white canoe. 

And her firefly lamp I soon shall see. 

And her paddle I soon shall hear; 
Long and loving our life shall be, 
And I'll hide the maid in a cypress tree. 

When the footstep of death is near. 

Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds; 

His path was rugged and sore; 
Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds. 
Through many a fen, where the serpent feeds. 

And never man trod before. 

And when on earth he sank to sleep. 

If slumber his eyelids knew, 
He lay where the deadly vine doth weep 
Its venomous tear and nightly steep 

The flesh with blistering dew. 

And near him the she-wolf stirred the brake, 

And copper snake breathed in his ear. 
Till he starting cried, from his dream awake, 
"Oh! when shall I see the dusky lake. 

And the white canoe of my dear.'*" 

He saw the lake and a meteor bright 

Quick over its surface played. 
'"Welcome!" he said, "my dear one's light!" 
And the dim shore echoed from many a night 

The name of the death-cold maid. 

Till he hollowed a boat of the birchen bark, 

Which carried him oS from shore; 
Fair he followed the meteor spark; 
The wind was high, and the clouds were dark, 

And the boat returned no more. 


But oft from the Indian hunter's camp, 

This lover and maid so true 
Are seen at the hour of midnight damp 
To cross the lalce by a firefly lamp, 

And paddle their white canoe. 

Perhaps the impressionistic sketch outlined above of this awesome stretch 
of land may serve as an introduction to some consideration of the practical 
significance, if any, of Dismal Swamp. The effect of the surroundings upon 
the minds of all visitors is actually such as to discourage any true appraisal 
of the Swamp's worth, sometimes even of its true nature. One may well ques- 
tion, for instance, Colonel William Byrd's report of 1730, after a visit to 
the area, that "no birds fly over." More recent accounts treat of it as a hunter's 
heaven, abounding with bears, 200 or more of which are said to be killed 
yearly within its confines. Deer are described as plentiful, and wild cattle, 
fleet as deer, live on the ridges running through the swampland. Otters, 
minks, coons and other forms of animal life are to be found, and woodcock 
inhabit the outer margins of the region. 

Some reason exists for regarding the Great Dismal as a potential garden 
spot of eastern America, for it is known that, during the reign of the Saxon 
kings in England, that country boasted many bogs, which later were cleared. 
The remarkable fact about these cleared sections is that persistent fertility 
through the centuries has characterized these areas since that period. Down 
to the present the old English bog sites are identifiable by the single char- 
acteristic of heightened fertility. 

Three species of trees tolerate water at their roots — juniper, gum and 
cypress. Pine subsists mainly on the ridges which are situated at the Swamp's 
outskirts. Juniper has the special characteristic that it occupies for the most 
part areas that are somewhat dry in summer. Both gum and cypress can grow, 
however, where the whole area is water-covered during the growing season. 
Cypress is, of course, the most water-tolerant of all; and both cypress and 
gum possess root systems which provide access to the air. The cypress's so- 
called "knees" develop only where the roots on which they rest lie beneath 
the water's surface during the growing season. The gum's roots arch up 
near the bole until they obtain air, and these protruding arches become cov- 
ered usually with annual plants. If the arch is small, the tree is stunted. The 
body of the cypress is twice, or sometimes three times, as large as the base 
as it is ten feet above the ground. 

For any one familiar with soils and what grows in them, the trees and 
plant life at once tell what kind of soil is present. Juniper thrives in light 
swamp land, often comprising nearly pure peat, made up of a brown mass of 
vegetable matter deriving from juniper or white cedar. The thickness of these 


deposits often varies from 8 to 10 feet. About 75% to 90% of it is organic 
matter. When cleared and drained, such soil has little agricultural use. The 
peat customarily hardens and becomes caked like charred wood, and con- 
sequently loses its value for ordinary agricultural purposes. Nearly one-third 
of Dismal Swamp is made up of this type of light swampland. 

The juniper districts make up the nursery for timber trees. Juniper re- 
produces fast; cypress, very slowly. Cypress wood increases no more than 
about 1 inch per year, and there are approximately three cuttings of mer- 
chantable lumber no oftener than every twenty years. 

Dark swamp land usually bears cypress, black gum and red maple, and 
is richer in agricultural possibilities. Considerable organic substance is to be 
found in the upper portions of such land, but this diminishes with proper 
drainage. After fifty years of cultivation, the soil remains black. The use of 
lime can serve to keep it from becoming too acid. This land, when reclaimed, 
is highly fertile, and is capable of yielding from 80 to 100 bushels of corn 
per acre even when newly redeemed. 

Potatoes flourish in light soil near the coastal areas and sometimes in 
heavier soil at the Dismal Swamp's eastern border. The average yield is 
about 80 barrels per acre. The cultivation of celery has begun on reclaimed 
black gum lands, and this product is described as being equal in quality to 
the best Michigan celery. It is said that the land on either side of the Jericho 
Canal in Nansemond County could be quickly rendered suitable for agri- 
cultural use by modern engineering methods. But the trouble seems to be 
that most of the labor is done by individual farmers, unaided by engineering 
science; and their interest naturally must be concentrated upon their own 
survival rather than upon development of any long-range plan that would 
be helpful to all farmers henceforth. A frequent occurrence has been that, 
by the home-made methods which have had to be employed, the reclaiming 
of one area has resulted only in the inundation of another. 

Yet certainly a substantial share of Nansemond County's successful truck 
farming activity has its origin in this reclaimed swamp land, which is par- 
ticularly adaptable to this purpose. The area is without question rich in its 
excellent soil, high-grade tillage, ready water source and favorable climate. 
The opportunities for quick irrigation in time of drought are unexcelled. 
Climate-wise, the Great Dismal is on the isothermal line, which means that 
here the climates of north and south meet and mingle, often making the 
entire year like an ever-continuing May. There are no extremes of hot and 
cold, and the floral displays are of tremendous richness, both picturesque 
and colorful. 

Washington first became interested in the Dismal Swamp in 1763, when a 
company was formed under the name "Adventurers for Draining the Dismal 
Swamp." The "Adventurers" were William and Thomas Nelson, Robert 


Burwell, Washington and his brother-in-law Fielding Lewis, Robert Tucker, 
Jr. (son of a merchant of Norfolk), Thomas Walker, William Waters, John 
Symes, and Samuel Gist. Washington and Lewis employed Gershom Nimmo, 
Surveyor of Norfolk County, to determine existing patents. He reported a 
total of 5800 acres, of which 3000 acres belonged to Tucker.^ 

Washington went to Suffolk in May, 1763, and between the 25th and 
28th made a circuit of the Swamp on horseback. He described this trip in 
detail in his diary, telling how the party rode south from Suffolk to Pocoson 
Swamp (east of the present village of Meadow) four or five miles from 
Col. Edward Riddick's mill run*; thence to Cypress Swamp (still so called), 
and a short distance to the south they went a half mile straight into the 
Dismal toward Lake Drummond; thence across Mossey Swamp to the North 
Carolina line. There they went by Norfleet's mill, where Washington and 
Lewis had bought land, and Luke Sumner's plantation, and circled south and 
east to the Pequemin (Perquimans) River; they crossed the latter and the 
Paspetank (Pasquotank) River by bridges and proceeded to Northwest Land- 
ing (on Northwest River) in Norfolk County, Great Bridge, Col. Tucker's 
Mill (on present Willis Creek), Farley's Plantation (east of Bower's Hill), 
Robert's Ordinary (east of Shoulder's Hill) Cowper's Mill (north of Mag- 
nolia), Riddick's Mill (near Suffolk Fair Grounds) and back to Suffolk.* *- 

Washington again visited the Dismal Swamp in 1766 (November), 1767 
(April), and 1768 (October). On the latter occasion, his diary gives the 
following information: 

[October] 26. Breakfasted in Suffolk, dined and lodged in the Dismal Swamp 
at John Washington's. 

27. Went up to our Plantation at Norfleet's in Carolina*** and 

returned in the aftern. 

28. Went into the Pond [Lake Drummond] with Colo. Lewis, 

Major Reddick, and John Washington, and at night went 
to y" Majrs. 

29. Got to Smithfield in return to Williamsburg. 

30. Set out early, breakfasted at Hog Island and dined in Wil- 


Eventually the Dismal Swamp Land Company dug two canals. One of 
these, five miles long, is the one that bears Washington's name. The other, 
running at right angles to it, is the Jericho Canal, ten miles in length, ex- 

1 Douglas S. Freeman, George Washington, a Biography, III, 87-103, passim. 

* This was a brother of Willis, Henry and John Riddick. In the old records, the name was 
written as often "Reddick." 

** All the modern indications of location are approximate. 

2 John C. Fitzpatrick, The Diaries of George Washington, I, 188-194. 
*** Gates County. 

3 Ibid., pp. 296-7. 


tending from a point two miles from Suffolk directly to Lake Drummond. 
Along their banks in spring and summer months the colors increase in 
number and variety and sharpen in tone among the shadows beneath the 
arching branches of overhanging gum and cypress and red maple. Every 
stump that the axe has spared is overgrown with wild ivy or eglantine, while 
ferns as high as a man's head wave and whisper in the breeze. 

The tradition that Washington personally surveyed the canal that bears 
his name is open to some doubt. It seems more probable that it may have 
been done by Gershom Nimmo, above mentioned. Washington Ditch begins 
at a point about five miles south of Suffolk on the White Marsh Road, and 
goes directly in to Lake Drummond. It is told of him that one evening, while 
inspecting this area, Washington was returning to the camp, when he en- 
countered an infuriated bear and had to drop his tools and climb a juniper 
tree to safety. Stories persist, too, of juniper rails from his old log cabin here 
that are still to be found in fences bordering local farms. 

Largely as a result of Washington's energy, some lumbering business de- 
veloped and a town sprang up on the White Marsh Road at the end of the 
canal. Dismal Town, as it was called, was a place of brisk trading in its 
day. A large school was conducted there by a man named Montague. The 
timber that was extracted from the area found far wider than local use, some 
of it having been shipped to England once it was hauled through the canals 
and down the Nansemond River. 

But even though Washington referred to the Swamp as a "glorious 
paradise" and visited it at least a half-dozen times, the hamlet of Dismal 
Town is less than a ghost town now, scarcely even a memory in the mind 
of man. The Swamp remains undeveloped, and men live their whole lives 
at its edges without ever venturing to enter it. They seem for the most part 
satisfied to listen with dubious ear to the stories of its beauty, its ghostly 
mystery and ghastly quicksands, its legendary tales and even its vast economic 

Certainly by 1790 the last Indian who may ever have retreated into its 
depths was gone, either by flight or by death. Besides the two canals men- 
tioned above, four additional ditches connect Lake Drummond with the 
outside world. To the east of the Swamp, the Dismal Swamp Canal begins at 
the village of Deep Creek, six miles southwest of Portsmouth, and con- 
nects Hampton Roads with the Pasquotank River, near whose headwaters 
are vast quicksand areas — naturally a frightful hazard to human penetration. 
This canal is fifty feet wide and navigable for vessels with a seven-foot draft. 
The Pasquotank River, of course, supplies an outlet to Albemarle Sound, 
from which all commerce, military and civilian, had to be carried on during 
wars when an enemy interrupted the usual flow of business through Norfolk. 

Around the middle of the nineteenth century numerous imaginations 


seem to have been again seized with the Swamp's potentialities. In 1850 the 
Lake Drummond Hotel was built, and in the same year another hostelry went 
up near the North Carolina border. Stories again were circulated of fugitive 
slaves hiding in this area or finding refuge in the swampland. Harriet Beecher 
Stowe's novel, Dred, published in 1856 and also issued under the name of 
Nina Gordon, contains reference to slaves fleeing to Dismal. Still later tales 
tell of mad moonshiners living here, who killed all intruders on sight. But 
most contemporary opinion holds that neither slave nor criminal nor moon- 
shiner could himself long live in Dismal, and that no moonshiner would be 
needed to kill an intruder on sight, since an intruder who was anything but 
extraordinarily cautious or well-guided would stand little chance of lasting 
long enough for that termination of his career. 

Hunters who enter Dismal Swamp take along a cowhorn to call their lost 
dogs. The seasoned men among them blow the cowhorn — even blow it hard 
and long — when their dogs turn up missing. But they do not go in search of 
the foolish animal that has become mired in quicksand or fallen into deep 
fire-holes in burned peat beds. They call it a loss of one dog and reconcile 
themselves to the loss. 

Not so with the Haywoods, who themselves were saved only by a 
miracle of fate after setting out to find their lost dog. William E. Haywood 
was a Portsmouth ship fitter, sixty-six years of age when he took his son, 
Alton Haywood, aged nineteen, into the Dismal on December 12, 1955, on 
a hunting trip. When Alton's dog was lost, the boy decided to search for her 
after she failed to answer his calls. Hardly had he left the beaten path until 
he found himself knee-deep, then waist-deep, in unsuspected water, or 
stumbling into an invisible fire-hole in the peat. What appeared as a field in 
the dimness turned out to be nothing but water. Then the Haywoods took 
time out from their search for the lost dog to search for each other. Mirage 
and oncoming darkness combined with the trickiness of the region's own 
format to drive them to a condition of near-frenzy. As darkness fell and they 
used up their matches, all but seven of them, they were afraid even to strike 
a match. Cautiously they struck six of the seven, attempting in vain to light 
a fire of "dry wood" that was still not dry enough to burn. Then the dog 
appeared, but not until Alton Haywood was half dead from fright. 

The Haywoods, both father and son, as well as their dog, finally escaped. 
Their animal was not one of those remaining to make up the rumored herd 
of hunting hounds that roam wild and frightened through the matted forests 
until occasionally one of them emerges at the Swamp's edge when least 
expected to resume his civilized life with mankind. 

Whatever the future of Dismal Swamp may be as a source of natural 
wealth or as a scenic treasure-land for the National Park Service, it remains 
a region to be feared and for the most part shunned except for the wise ad- 


venturer with experience to cope with its dangers and pitfalls. Its minks, 
its endless expanse of mistletoe growing wild, may offer a continuing lure to 
those impulses forever driving man onward to romance and achievement. 
But as one commentator was inspired to ask, "What good is all this mistletoe 
in such a place?" 

In 1923 fire was added to the horrors of the Great Dismal. What would 
under normal circumstances refuse to burn caught fire by some mysterious 
means, and spread over an area of 150 square miles before it played itself 
out. Over a period of two years, fire that had seemed long since gone sud- 
denly reappeared in smouldering peat-beds, emerging to the surface where 
least expected. 

What is the untold story that science will tell at some unknown future 
date of the role of this no-man's-land, this "glorious paradise," in the life of 
Virginia and of this nation in years to come.-* 

References on Chapter XXIV 

Joseph B. Dunn, The History of Nansemond County, Va. 

John Francis Ariza, "Dismal Swamp in Legend and History," National Geographic, Vol. 62, pp. 120- 
130, July, 1932. 

Thomas Moore, A BallaJ — The Lake of the Dismal Swamp, poem. 

Nature Magazine, Vol. 39, pp. 206-208, April, 1946. 

Saturday Review of Literature, August 6, 1955, p. 39. 



Chapter XXV 

Warwick River Shire 

By Floyd McKuight 

A S NOTED IN A previous chapter, the Colony of Virginia was divided 
/% in 1634 into eight shires or counties for administrative purposes, 
£ % having previously (since 1619) been divided into four corporations. 
The area then designated as Warwick River Shire had its name changed in 
1643 to Warwick County, the term "shire" being even sooner superseded by 
the more usual word still in use today. Prior to 1634 this area was a part of 
the Corporation of Elizabeth City and its history for that time was given in 
the chapter under that heading; at that time we told of the early plantations, 
monthly courts, parishes and representatives from this area in the House of 
Burgesses. The present chapter tells the story of Warwick County from its 
independent existence to the present time. This county is unique among the 
eight original counties, in that it was the only one never subdivided to form 
new counties, and the present city of Newport News — with the exception of 
some minor adjustments of boundary — is contained within the 1634 limits 
of the old Shire of Warwick River. 

By 1630 Nutmeg Quarter Church was situated in the position of the 
present Warwick-on-the-James, above Hilton Village. By 1656 is was com- 
bined with Denbigh Parish, its church remaining as a chapel-of-ease of 

The development of the early churches followed the course of con- 
venience, as did the occasional mergers of parishes. Lists of 1680, 1702 and 
1714 give Warwick County's parishes as Denbigh and Mulberry Island. A 
1724 report by Commissary Blair to the Bishop of London mentions "Den- 
bigh and Mulberry Island" as one parish, and in 1725 an Act of Assembly 
renamed it Warwick Parish, Denbigh being the Lower Church and Mulberry 
Island the Upper Church. "Lower" referred to the area downstream; "Upper" 
to that which was upstream. 

Actually, church records are difficult to find on the Lower Peninsula, 
those of Elizabeth City County having been destroyed in the burning of 
Hampton* and those of Warwick County during a raid by Union forces 

* See Chapter VII. 
Va. 2—13 


upon the Warwick County Clerk's office during the War between the States. 
Some years ago a Warwick Order Book was picked up in a damaged 
condition, with a bullet hole through its lower margin. Decipherable portions 
confirmed the Virginia-wide condition of the times between 1748 and 1762, 
when the vestry were evidently having a tough battle on their hands to lure 
people to church. Frequently during that period the vestrymen were on 
record as taking the parishioners to task for "not frequenting their parish 
church." At the same time other denominations with more liberal leanings — 
above all, not affiliated with the Established Church of England — were arriv- 
ing to take up the slack. In this condition within the religious life were 
evident the somewhat-more-than-dim forebodings of the imminence of. the 
Revolutionary War. The same Warwick Order Book showed a similar period 
of disinterest around 1830, after which time Warwick Parish was dormant 
until the Chesapeake and Ohio arrived in 1880 to develop the modern City 
of Newport News.* 

In 1633 a public storehouse for tobacco was built on the Warwick River 
plantation of Samuel Mathews. A record of March 20, 1633, gave evidence 
of the custom of all ships trading on the James River to stop at Newport 
News for spring water. The record was that of the Dutch navigator, Captain 
De Vries, who gave a description of the "fine spring" at "Newport Snuw," 
from which his ship obtained water. It was in the following year, 1634, that 
the eight original shires were created, among them Warwick River Shire, the 
name of which was changed to Warwick County by further act of the 
Colonial Assembly in March, 1643. Warwick was even then progressing on 
its path to the achievement of cityhood, which was to lead first of all to its 
becoming an independent city and then to its participation in 1958 in the 
formation of the Greater City of Newport News. Meanwhile, its relation to 
Newport News had to be brought to the fore and made the subject of much 
thought, as well as of some doubt and questioning, before it could be fully 
clarified and resolved. 

As noted above, the economy was essentially agrarian throughout that 
early period, as was the case with most of the tobacco-raising areas of 
Tidewater Virginia. Probably in Virginia more than elsewhere, agriculture 
has tended to hold its own as opposed to the growth of industry, or at least 
to maintain a healthy balance with industry. Yet as early as 1650 the General 
Assembly was offering inducements for the creation of cities, and continuously 
since that time their growth has been encouraged. An Act of 1705, rejected 
by the English Crown because of certain weaknesses, specifically exempted 
town or borough residents from certain taxes, debts, impost duties and other 
obligations, including military service, which they would incur elsewhere 
in the normal course of citizenship. 

* See Chapter XXVI. 


With the development of modern attitudes of equality in matters govern- 
mental, the privileges granted to encourage the advancement of cities have 
been more specifically in the nature of economic advantages. Sometimes in 
more recent decades these advantages have taken the form of power rate 
reductions. On occasion these rates have been cut one-half for nevv'ly created 
cities, which have been thereby helped to "get on their feet." The late 
Governor Ritchie of Maryland said that "cities must be permitted to grow" — 
a doctrine in which Virginia's laws have, generally speaking, shown con- 
currence at all times. Encouragement of cities has often taken subtler forms. 
The Virginia Constitution of 1902, for instance, made annexation of territory 
a judicial rather than a political determination, and the courts have in the 
main followed this trend of thinking, as do the press and vested interests for 
the most part. Frequently newspapers have editorialized in favor of an- 
nexation as a matter for judicial determination, even when areas being 
armexed chose to disagree. 

In 1680 the Assembly decided that more centralization of activities was 
advisable, mainly to facilitate trade, collect tariffs and establish better gov- 
ernmental and defense systems. The method employed by the Assembly at 
that time was to adopt legislation ordering each county to establish towns. 
At some time prior to 1691 (when the second town law was passed), fifty 
acres of land were purchased from Capt. Samuel Mathews at what is now 
Deep Creek. A town site was laid out, with subdivisions into lots, and a 
Court House and jail and a few houses were built. Later several other 
buildings, including a tavern, were erected. But the community envisioned, 
known as "Warwick Towne," did not flourish. After a short time Warwick 
Towne was but a remote and isolated spot in a predominantly rural com- 
munity, and was not mentioned in the third town law (1705) establishing 
boroughs and ports. 

The general prosperity of Warwick was none the less evident throughout 
that busy seventeenth-century colonization period. On June 4, 1667, a single 
event pointed unpleasantly the significance of the tobacco trade. Dutch war- 
ships captured the British frigate Elizabeth in the James River, off Newport 
News, using the ruse of flying British colors to achieve their end. They then 
overtook and made prizes of the rich tobacco fleet bound for England. What 
is believed to be the earliest gravestone still extant in Warwick is that placed 
over a hero of that battle, Colonel Miles Cary, said to have met his death 
therein and to have been buried at Windmill Point, on Lucas Creek, War- 
wick. His son. Miles Cary II, owner of Richneck Plantation, near Oriana, 
in Warwick, is said traditionally to have held court under the so-called 
Warwick Court Elm on his property. The clerk's office was at Richneck, 
and court is believed to have been held there around 1680 and for many 
years afterward. Justice Miles Cary II was also appointed as a charter trustee 


of the College of William and Mary in 1693, and was rector of the college 
in the year 1705-1706. 

A Virginia Rent Roll of 1704 listed 125 parcels of land in Warwick. 
Largest landowners were Colonel Dudley Digges, with 4,626 acres; Colonel 
Miles Cary II, with 1,960 acres; and Colonel Cole's orphans, with 1,350 
acres. Prominent families of the period were those of Ranshaw, Roscow, 
Mountfort, Harwood, Lucas, Digges, Crew, Whitaker, Cary, Jones, Scasbrook, 
Wills, Llewellyn and Cole. Dated November 2, 1700, an old gravestone in 
Warwick commemorates a member of one of those families in its inscription: 
"Under this stone lyeth the Body of William Roscow, Gentleman, Who was 
born at Chorley, in the County of Lancashire, the 30th day of November 
Anno Dom: 1664, and departed this life at Blunt Point in ye County of 
Warwick, the 2d days of November, Anno Dom: 1700." 

An event of unquestioned importance in the later seventeenth century 
was Bacon's Rebellion, which seemed to have little bearing directly upon 
Warwick's social or political life, except that it represented a widely cherished 
feeling that was destined to grow in the century ahead. As a member of the 
Governor's Council, Nathaniel Bacon, Henrico County, was chosen by Vir- 
ginians who were dissatisfied with Governor Berkeley's Indian policy to lead 
an expedition against the Indians. The Governor refused to commission him 
to lead such an expedition, but he took matters into his own hands, invaded 
Indian territory in 1676, then was proclaimed a rebel by Governor Berkeley. 
But when tried before the Governor and the Council, Bacon was acquitted. 
Successful up to that point, Bacon and his followers used their popularity 
to demand abolition of exorbitant taxes, recently created suffrage restrictions 
and other evils stemming from across the Atlantic. When declared a rebel 
for the second time by the Governor, Bacon captured and destroyed James- 
town, but died in October, 1676, before he could accomplish the reforms he 
espoused. Because of the wide support which Bacon's cause aroused. Gov- 
ernor Berkeley took every possible measure to stamp out any vestige of re- 
bellion by ridding the scene of personalities who might foster it and by 
humiliating any one vaguely suspected of sympathizing with the movement. 
Though Warwick had had little part in the entire chain of events connected 
with the Bacon Rebellion, it offered a petition similar to that forthcoming 
from other counties, asking pardon for any part it might have had in any way 
in the rebellion, noting that the county's participation had been small since 
it was remote from the immediate scene of trouble. 

The ensuing century was a static period for the most part, during which 
Warwick grew but little. In 1739 the area experienced a "pirate treasure" 
fever. It was reported that such treasure was buried on Mulberry Island, 
possibly by the notorious Virginia pirate Blackbeard, who was killed by 
Lieutenant Maynard on November 22, 1718, and whose head was afterward 


displayed on a pike on what became known as Blackbeard's Point, Hampton. 

The English tyranny increasingly irked the colonists; and most Virginians 
were strongly partisan on the colonial side. As opposition to British colonial 
policy grew, objections were ever more undisguisedly professed, with the 
result that the English took precautionary and retaliatory measures and now 
and then affected a show of strength. On February 19, 1755, in connection 
with the war between England and France, General Edward Braddock en- 
tered Hampton Roads aboard the frigate Norwich under command of Captain 
Samuel Barrington. On March 20 he came ashore. Meanwhile, on March 9, 
the English ship Seashore arrived under command of Captain Hugh Pallister 
with seven transports of troops. 

In Virginia, on May 30, 1765, the House of Burgesses adopted Patrick 
Henry's resolutions denying the right of taxation claimed in England, al- 
though, like North Carolina and Georgia, Virginia was not represented at 
a congress in New York on October 7, 1765, made up of delegates from 
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Penn- 
sylvania, Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina, who adopted a "Declara- 
tion of Rights and Liberties" on October 19 of that year and drew up petitions 
to the King and Parliament. In Warwick particularly interest ran high in 
the land and its yield, for the economy remained mainly agricultural. Here 
the people attended to their farming and related pursuits and to the advance 
of their civic and cultural activities. The political situation had already 
poisoned the life of the Established Church, which aroused little interest 
in the area. Many abstained entirely from church attendance, despite earnest 
pleas from vestrymen trying in varying degrees to maintain loyalty. Numerous 
citizens joined the "rebel" denominations — Quakers, Baptists, Methodists and 

Even as late as 1772, however, efforts by the Established Church were in 
evidence in Warwick. On August 20 of that year the Virginia Gazette 
carried an advertisement for the construction of the Lower Church of Warwick 
Parish. The contemplated church was built in 1774, and parts of it exist 
today in the structure of the Denbigh Baptist Church, despite reconstructions 
of 1898 and additions of 1922 and 1923. 

A very different aspect of cultural life was represented in establishment 
of a fine botanical garden on the plantation of Richard Cary, of "Peartree 
Hall," Warwick, in 1764. This garden gained credit far and wide as being 
the finest of its kind in the colonies up to that time. 

There were still, of course, many Tories in the defiant colonies, and one 
of these was Lord Dunmore, the British Colonial Governor of Virginia. 
Four days after adoption of the Declaration of Independence, on July 8, the 
sloop Lady Charlotte, built in Newport News by Holder Hudgins, was used 


by Dunmore to resist Virginia colonial land forces. Dunmore was routed at 
the battle of Cricket Hill, Gwinn's Island. 

From time to time continental ships loading off Warwick's shores were 
sunk by the English at the mouth of the James River. While other portions 
of the American coast were subject to ferocious assault and in many instances 
forced to evacuate homes and cities, Warwick remained relatively unscathed 
at that period. Once an English force of forty men on a foraging expedition 
met a contingent of Virginia volunteers under Captain Edward Mallory at 
Waters Creek, now Lake Maury (sometimes called Museum Lake because 
of its proximity to the present Mariners" Museum). On that occasion the 
British officer was killed and his men were forced to retreat in rout. 

By 1780 Warwick was also a heavy sufferer from the war, as was the 
entire Peninsula, particularly from the depredations of plundering English 
warships based in the waters of Hampton Roads. In May, 1781, a battle took 
place at Warwick Court House between Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton's men 
and 400 militia. The surprise nature of the English attack, combined with 
heavy rains which prevented the militia from using their arms, led to notable 
losses on the American side. 

The English now concentrated their attention upon Virginia. In August, 
1781, only a few months after the battle of Warwick Court House, there was 
an encounter between Virginia forces and a British foraging expedition, 
which took the form of a running engagement all the way from Waters 
Creek down the Peninsula to Newport News. By early September, Lord 
Cornwallis was entrenched at Yorktown, from which Washington was intent 
upon dislodging him. It was at Williamsburg that Washington met with 
Lafayette and Rochambeau, while a French fleet under Count de Grasse en- 
tered the Chesapeake. 

Without the victory that lay ahead, the history of the world might indeed 
have taken a different course. And, like all decisive turns of destiny, victory 
was won by but a narrow margin. One of Lord Cornwallis' first acts had 
been to invade Warwick and drive out all able-bodied men from the area. 
To oppose him, the colonists assembled small boats of every kind and de- 
scription in the James River — a fleet used to collect provisions for Lafayette's 
men at Williamsburg. Reinforcements from Maryland landed at Burwell's 
Ferry and Trebell's Landing, just north of Warwick. A portion of the 
American force then moved across the Peninsula to Yorktown, while Wash- 
ington and his men marched across Warwick, stopping for rest and water 
at "End View," the Harwood-Curtis family plantation home, one of the few 
revolutionary houses still occupied. Water was abundant there, and the spring 
from which it was obtained is today one of the sources of Lee Hall 

Warwick, once a bustling shore community with its own busy shipyard, 


found its main business shifted to Norfolk and Baltimore after the Revolu- 
tionary War had ended. Families who could not afford longer to maintain 
expensive farms and plantations subdivided their properties by sale or in- 
heritance, paving the way for a more modern era. But the transition was a 
tough one, filled with suffering for Warwick citizens, who in the official 
census of 1790 numbered only 1,690. The county was the third smallest in 
Virginia in population, and throughout its entire history as a county it was 
the third smallest in area, though as a city, after its status had changed, it was 
the largest city in area in all Virginia. 

Warwick County's first Congressman, elected in the first free election 
under the new Constitution of the United States, oh February 14, 1792, was 
Burr Bassett, Jr. Years passed before the county really recovered from the 
cruel ravages of war. By 1807 "Warwick Towne" was abandoned and the 
county seat was moved to "Stony Run," on the main highway connecting 
Warwick with Williamsburg. Richard Young bought the acreage which had 
constituted the former "Warwick Towne." In 1809 a new county seat was 
set up at Stony Run under the name of "Denbigh" after the Mathews 
plantation on Deep Creek. The same building today forms the main portion 
of the office of the Clerk of Court. A rough, hand-carved stone above the 
door to the office bears the inscription; "Nov. 1810, T. Sandy under T. R. 
Dunn and R. Ratcliff." 

The war of 1812 brought further troubles to Warwick, as to the rest of 
the Lower Peninsula. British foraging parties were at work again while 
England attempted a blockade of the American coast. For the most part 
Warwick was endeavoring during this period to eke out an existence from 
the land, although success was meager and so remained for many years. By 
as late as 1880, when the City of Newport News was coming into existence, 
the population of Warwick County was only 2,238. The slow growth re- 
flected the difficult times. ■ 

Nineteenth-century advances included the initiation of steamboat service 
in the James River in 1816. At the outset persons desiring to ride the early 
steamboats flagged them from shore, whereupon a boat stopped to pick them 
up. The steamboat Powhatan was the first such boat in regular service on 
the river. Later Newport News docks were built and served as a regular stop- 
ping place for the river boats. 

In 1831 Parker West, who lived along the waterfront half-way between 
Newport News Point and Eighteenth Street, acquired Newport News Farm. 
Then, in 1848, Captain Richard W. Lee started to build his Georgian-style 
plantation house at Lee Hall. In 1851 the United States Post Office was 
established at "New Port News" at the foot of Bennett's Wharf, but it was 
discontinued in 1854 and did not become a permanent fixture in the com- 
munity until the 1880s. 


As Warwick County's economy made its way forward, with farm pro- 
duction increasing and more and more undeveloped land being put to use, 
the scourge of war once more fell upon the Lower Peninsula and the South. 

On May 25 General Benjamin F. Butler, of the Federal forces, made a 
reconnaissance of Newport News Point, then occupied the area and estab- 
lished Camp Butler and batteries commanding the James River. On June 10, 
1861, the first major land engagement of the War between the States was 
fought at Big Bethel between Confederate defenders under Colonel John 
Bankliead Magruder and Union forces under General Ebenezer Pierce. De- 
tachments of Federal troops advanced from Fort Monroe and Camp Butler, 
but were repulsed. 

The Peninsula was destined to suffer heavily in the stage of the war 
immediately ahead. Union forces under General George B. McClellan dis- 
embarked at Newport News as a build-up for a future Peninsular campaign 
which he hoped would lead to the capture of Richmond. Meanwhile, Con- 
federate earthworks were constructed from Fort Crawford on Mulberry Island 
across the Peninsula to Yorktown — a fact which caused considerable delay 
in McClellan's plans. Magruder's forces, victorious at Big Bethel, now under- 
took to lay waste the countryside to prevent Federal troops from "living off 
the land." Before they had finished. Union forces appeared. Warwick fam- 
ilies fled, taking with them whatever transportation and other goods they 
could take and destroying as much as possible of what remained so that it 
might do the Union forces no good. 

McClellan then delivered to Warwick the major blow that the county 
suffered throughout the entire war, marching with his men up the main high- 
way (Route 60), while others traveled the Yorktown road. Reaching Den- 
bigh, the Union forces found the abandoned Court House full of records, 
which they carried off with them as souvenirs, or else burned. Except for a 
few pieces returned later by relatives of Union troops, no official county rec- 
ords remain of events in Warwick prior to 1865. As the scene of conflict 
shifted and former Warwick residents returned to their homes, many found 
the lack of records a matter of greatest difficulty and concern because of the 
trouble it caused them in ousting usurpers from their lands. 

Meanwhile, McClellan's month-long delay before Yorktown and his 
incessant calls for reinforcements worried Lincoln, who had never been 
enthusiastic about the Peninsular campaign in the first place. The President's 
attention was rather drawn to a sea campaign. 

McClellan was not the only Union general who tried to capture Richmond. 
Five generals made the attempt-^McDowell, who in 1861 was defeated by 
Beauregard and Johnston; and then, successively, McClellan, Pope and Burn- 
side in 1862 and Hooker in 1863, all four of them defeated by General 
Robert E. Lee. In fact, so skillful were Lee's maneuverings that he not only 


barred the road to Richmond, but himself invaded the North two times — 
Maryland in 1862 and Pennsylvania in 1863. Although he was defeated both 
times, his opponents were content to let this formidable Confederate general 
withdraw into Southern territory without serious pursuit. The worst of 
American wars, despite Union victories in the Mississippi River area, did 
not come to an end until Lincoln turned over supreme command of the 
armies of the North to General Ulysses S. Grant, who pursued Lee in 
Virginia while he sent Sherman to Georgia to destroy railroads and food. 
Lee surrendered on April 9 to Grant, and Johnston to Sherman on April 26. 
Meanwhile, on April 12, Lincoln had been assassinated in Ford's Theater, 
Washington. Jefferson Davis, captured May 10, 1865, while on his way to 
re-establish the Confederacy in Texas, was held prisoner for two years at 
Fort Monroe* during the bitter reconstruction period. 

During the years that followed, Warwick once more devoted itself to 
farming and fishing, as well as to trying to heal its manifest war scars. 
Early failures to practice crop rotation were felt now, along with other 
evils, and soil efficiency and productivity dropped together. Much good farm 
land remained in timber. Church and religious life remained dormant, too, 
at least as far as Warwick Parish was concerned. This condition continued 
for the most part until the coming of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway to 
Newport News, when religious life experienced a revival along with the new 
economic developments.* 

First considered in 1868, by 1873 the railway was definitely projected. 
Surveys were being made to determine its course down the Peninsula to deep 
water. The terminus at Newport News was definitely decided upon, and 
Collis P. Huntington and his associates began their series of vast industrial 
developments, as recounted in connection with the history of Newport News 
in this work.* Huntington had been acquiring tracts of land in that area 
as early as 1866. In 1880 the Old Dominion Land Company was chartered 
specifically to buy and sell land. With the building of the Lafayette Hotel 
in 1880 and the great Hotel Warwick in 1883 in Newport News, Warwick 
County to the north found that it was on the threshold of the greatest 
prosperity it had ever known. 

The railroad passed through the county's entire length, with stations 
established at points still bearing the same names — Lee Hall, Oriana, Oyster 
Point and Morrison. It assured Warwick's gradual industrialization. An early 
industry, chartered in 1886, was the Chesapeake Dry Dock and Construction 
Company, which adopted a remarkable slogan — "At a profit if we can, at 
a loss if we must, but always good ships." It later became the Newport 
News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company and a world-wide leader in its 

* See Chapter VIII. 

* See Chapter XXVI. 



field. Today it extends across the waterfront of three former Warwick 
landmarks — the Briarfield Farm, the Betsy Lee Farm and the Robert H. Lee 

Business, political and religious life once again were flourishing hand in 
hand. In 1884 Warwick County built a new Court House, to which a jail 
was added in 1899. In 1890 the county's population had attained an all-time 
high of 6,650. In 1891 the county seat was moved to the Peninsula's lower 

(Courtesy Va. Peninsula Ass'n of Comtnerce) 

tip, within the boundaries of what in a few short years was to become the 
City of Newport News, then a tiny fishing village. Five years later, in 1896, 
the Legislature chartered that city, whereupon Warwick moved its county 
seat back to Denbigh. From that time onward a spirit of rivalry grew up 
between the rural and industrial interests. 

Even the long-dormant church life revived after the coming of Huntington 
in 1880. In that year the first services were held at Morrison, which was a 
mission of St. John's Church, Hampton. Later this resurgence spread also 
to Newport News, where St. Paul's became the parish church. Huntington 
and his associates themselves took a lively interest in the fuller life, too, and 
one of their projects was the establishment of a "union chapel" to serve the 


religious needs of all creeds. Such a chapel was actually built, and held its 
first services in March, 1881. Different denominations were free to meet sep- 
arately, as they chose, within its walls; and that little chapel served as a 
starting place for several faiths, which afterward branched out and estab- 
lished their own churches. 

During the Spanish-American War, Warwick was little affected except 
that she sent her complement of soldiers. Farther down the Peninsula, the 
new city's great shipbuilding company was turning out its first big capital 
ships, the Kearsarge and the Kentucky, following the period of mounting 
tension after the sinking of the Maine in Havana harbor. Wartime develop- 
ments actually cut short the depression and tight-money period that had set 
in a few months earlier. 

An important event for Warwick was the arrival, in March, 1897, of 
Daniel Shenk, of Ohio. Coming to Warwick, he not only established the 
Mennonite Church here, but laid the foundation of the 1,200-acre Mennonite 
colony by selecting a site and starting the first building operations. In a 
Mennonite publication he noted the variety of soil to be found here, though 
expressing the opinion that it was depleted, which the local farmers had 
discovered to their sorrow. He was sure that it would yield "very kindly and 
promptly to manure and good treatment." The new colony actually became 
one of the most prosperous agricultural communities in Tidewater Virginia, 
specializing in dairying and fruit raising. Mennonite farmers followed Shenk 
to Warwick from Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee and Vir- 
ginia's Shenandoah Valley. Since that time the Mennonites have taken a 
lively role in local affairs. Conscientious objectors during two world wars, 
they none the less constructively served humanitarian principles during those 
conflicts; and when few were found who were willing to remain on farms, 
even if not drafted into military service, the Mennonites went on producing 
the essential farm products without which mankind cannot long endure in 
war or peace. 

With the start of World War I and the entry of the United States into 
that conflict in 1917, the entire Lower Peninsula became a beehive of ac- 
tivity. Workers rushed from the farms to join the armed services, or to 
industrial plants where they were needed and earned many times the incomes 
that had previously been theirs. The entire economy was dislocated and 
distorted, and the overnight doubling of the population throughout all Tide- 
water Virginia, with the added necessity of feeding and housing servicemen 
stationed in the area or passing through it, drained the area's resources diy. 
Camps Morrison, Hill, Stuart, Alexander and Eustis were established within 
Warwick's boundaries, and the county became the logical area for new homes 
that mushroomed into existence overnight to serve the needs of the new 
shipyard workers who had come from all parts of the United States. 



In January, 1918, Hilton Village sprang up as the first of: several such 
residential areas. The Emergency Fleet Corporation purchased 200 acres of 
the Darling tract, where with $1,200,000 provided by the United States 
Shipping Board more than 500 homes were erected. The Army acquired Mul- 
berry Island and there founded Camp Eustis, which afterward became Fort 
Eustis and on February 1, 1946, after World War II, was taken over by the 
Chief of Transportation and established as an Army Service Force Training 

(Courtesy Va. Peninsula Ass'n of Commerce) 


Center. On August 21, 1950, it became the Army's Transportation Training 
Command Center, operating in conjunction with Fort Monroe. 

For the remainder of World War I, Warwick was a busy center through 
which thousands and tens of thousands of boys passed on their way to the 
Port of Embarkation at the tip of the Peninsula. Trees were felled. Forests 
disappeared. Barracks and operational buildings arose in their places to serve 
military needs. Waterways and reservoirs were enlarged and extended. Sol- 
diers came to watch over them and the other new installations, as well 
as the miles of new railway track laid to meet the needs of the times. The 
draftees from Newport News and Warwick totaled 1,671, and 38,242 sub- 



scribers bought a total of $6,574,250 worth of Liberty Bonds, although the 
quota for the area was only $4,747,000. 

In that war the entire Hampton Roads area had taken on new industrial 
importance, and Warwick County was no longer strictly rural, with only 
agricultural interests. After the war the new homes remained; Hilton Village 
was not torn down. Though many strictly military installations were dis- 
mantled, others were changed into serviceable housing for the pursuits of 

(Courtesy Va. Pe/iinsula Ass'ti of Commerce) 

peace. Agriculture revived, too. Warwick was now no longer a county of 
10,000 population, as it had been during the war crisis. But neither did it 
return to its former status. 

Politically, its government still consisted, however, of the old county 
magisterial Board of Supervisors — three elected officials exercising full con- 
trol of county affairs. With many residents of a new type flocking to the 
county and traveling to work daily in the industries of Newport News, War- 
wick was suffering from that city's growing pains. There was talk of an- 
nexation, and the strong and older bulwark of the county's population raised 
hearty objections to moves which they were certain would only increase taxes 
and multiply their hardships. Newport News was successful in seven annexa- 


tion suits, the last of which came in 1940, when Warwick's population was 
still only 9,248 and its hard core of population was still strictly rural. But 
about half of this number were newcomers who found their livelihood in 
surrounding communities and did not share this purely localized loyalty. 
Signs of the trend were the very existence of Hilton Village, beginning in 
1918, the rise of the Colony Inn, opened in May, 1927, at Main Street and 
Warwick Road by the Newport News Land Corporation, and the subsequent 
establishment of the Bank of Warwick on the site of this residential hotel. 
The growth of such institutions as The Mariners' Museum, the development 
of Lake Maury in 1932 — these were but a few of the many indications of 
a change in trend. 

World War II multiplied these changes, quickened industrialization and 
spurred the move toward cityhood. Warwick was now definitely a "boom 
town," providing more homes for workers than it had ever done in the 
previous war. Its population jumped to 33,950, many of whom were war 
workers, military personnel and their families, and employes at government 
installations. Camp Eustis was reactivated as Fort Eustis. The staging area of 
Camp Patrick Henry was created. Camp Hill was reopened and enlarged. 
Several ammunition dumps were set up. Government-financed housing was 
established at Copeland, Newsome and Ferguson Parks. Rural interests waned 
with the newer generation. The number of farms dropped from 303 to 146 
in twelve short years. Only 13 per cent of the population were still engaged 
in agriculture, while 85 per cent were engaged in business and the pro- 
fessions, or in defense or military work. The resulting situation was one which 
the old Board of Supervisors was not geared to handle. New schools, new 
institutions, new methods were needed. And in 1945 the voters approved 
the county manager form of government. 

By 1951 Warwick County, Virginia, was one of only sixteen counties out 
of all the 3,050 counties in the entire United States to operate under this 
type of governmental organization. Five of the sixteen so operating were 
in Virginia. While still a county, Warwick converted its government into 
a "business" for the sake of efficient management. The new form started 
January 1, 1945, with one of Virginia's ablest administrators, J. Clyde 
Morris, as manager. 

Cooperating with Hampton, Newport News, Elizabeth City County and 
the Town of Phoebus, Warwick aided in the establishment of Camp Patrick 
Henry as a municipal airport when World War II was ended. As this and 
other enterprises matured, figures and facts gathered together after World 
War II showed Warwick County to be a heavy sufferer, though no battles 
had taken place on its land as had been the case in times gone by. Many 
local boys returned to the pursuits of peace and to take part in the gigantic 
community-building effort that was under way, but others who had served 


their country in the great holocaust never returned, having made the supreme 
sacrifice of their hves in the course of service. Those who died in miUtary 
service were: 

Bever, Joseph C, Cpl., A. 

Breckenridge, Gilmer Jack, Cpl., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred P. 

Breckenridge, Fort Eustis 
Burrell, Joseph L., Pvt., A. 

Celis, Lyle Francis, F3c., N. Father, John Celis, Hilton Village 
Clemmons, McClease, Pvt., A. 
Cook, John T., Jr., T/5, A. 
CoPELAND, Howard Carlisle, 2nd Lt., A. Father, Alex Copeland, Hilton 

Davis, Alvin Maxwell, Pvt., A. Brother, S/Sgt. Charles Edy Davis, Hilton 

Davis, Foster L., Pvt., A. 
Day, George, Jr., Pfc, A. 
Dickinson, Carl Duncan, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Ruby J. Dickinson, Hilton 

Dillard, Clark V., Sgt., A. 
Dudley, Robert Powell. (See Hampton City) 

DuNNAGAN, Jesse Walter, Sic, N. Father, Walter B. Dunnagan, Denbigh 
Engleburt, John J., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Cora J. Engleburt, Hilton Village 
FowLKES, Charlie J. Jr., Sgt., A. 
Garbett, Robert L., Jr., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Bertha Garbett, Hilton 

Gatlin, Amos J., Jr., Pvt., A. 
Greggs, Willie, Pvt., A. 

Guthrie, Paul Leslie, Pvt, A. Sister, Mrs. Mary G. Gray, Hilton Village 
Hawkins, Norman D., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Ollie M. Hawkins, Hilton 

Higgins, Ned W., S/Sgt., A. 
Hockaday, James Edward, Pfc, A. 

Hollow AY, Robert J., Sgt., A. Father, Robert M. Holloway, Denbigh 
Hunter, Walter T., Pvt., A. 

Irby, Edward L., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Annie Irby, Hilton Village 
Johnston, Hogan N., S/Sgt., A. 
Jones, John A., Pvt., A. 
Love, Walter E., Pvt., A. 
Marshall, John L., Pfc, M. Mother, Mrs. Amelia J. Marshall, Hilton 

Martin, Alfred C, Pvt., A. 


Massey, Costello Page, Lt., N. Wife, Mrs. Costello Page Massey 

Mercer, James E., T/5, A. 

Merica, Thomas W., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Emma F. Merica, Morrison 

Meyer, Carl Heinz. (See Newport News City) 

Mills, James H., Sgt, A. 

Mitchell, Lester Bauman, QM3c, N. Mother, Mrs. Louise T. Mitchell, 

Hilton Village 
Nelson, Buford R., T/5, A. 
Nettles, William Marion, Ens., N. Wife, Mrs. Margaret Wilken Nettles, 

Hilton Village 
Oglesby, Halmon L., Pvt., A. 
Pearsell, William L., Pfc, A. 
Pennington, George P., Lt., A. Wife, Mrs. George F. Pennington, Toledo, 

Phillips, Stanley Dovelle, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Margaret S. Phillips. 

Hilton Village 
Powell, Charles W., Pvt., A. 
Read, Cecil Edward, Jr., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Ethel Roosevelt Read, Hilton 

Salisbury, Jack C, AvC, A. 
Smith, Joseph H., Jr., Pfc, A. 

Smith, Otha Lee, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Emma Sue Smith, Oyster Point 
Spencer, Jack, Pfc, A. 
Ware, Robert Edward, Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Mildred Tabb Ware, Hilton 

Weaver, Gerald B., Pfc, A. 
Wilbern, Philip M., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Benna Oliva Wilbern, Hilton 


The main industrial growth resulting from World War II occurred, of 
course, in Newport News.* But Warwick's growth remained enduring to a 
large extent. The Korean Emergency, beginning in 1950, further accented 
the trend. A great building boom developed, mainly under the auspices of 
private enterprise. New subdivisions, complete with sidewalks, streets and 
every modern contrivance, replaced former isolated areas. The population 
figures of 1950 then revealed that Warwick had grown 331.2 per cent in 
ten years' time — more than any other community in the LInited States in that 
period. Newport News once again started an annexation suit, which was 
costly to all concerned. Warwick opposed consolidation when that question 
came up in 1950. 

That development came to a head in 1952, when employment was high 

* See Chapter XXVI, where these facts are detailed. 


in the shipyard and at military installations throughout the Peninsula. Fort 
Eustis then housed more than 20,000 men as the Transportation Center and 
permanent home of the Army Transportation Corps, and the Federal Gov- 
ernment was spending $34,000,000 on a renovation project there. 

Under such conditions, civic leaders obtained permission from the State 
Legislature to make another change in the city's governmental form. It was 
estimated that 52,000 people now lived in the county. Annexation to Newport 
News was displeasing to many, and a movement started to prevent even a 
small portion of the county from being so annexed. With these and many 
other factors gathering impetus, Warwick's citizens voted 5 to 1 in a popular 
referendum to change their county into a city — an unprecedented move in 
the nation's history. Warwick's sprawling 60-odd square miles of territory 
then became Virginia's largest city in point of land area and seventh in 
population in the state. Hampton, Elizabeth City County and the Town of 
Phoebus by consolidation took similar action at the same time, with the 
result that the Lower Peninsula now consisted of three cities instead of, as 
previously, two counties, two cities and a town. 

The effective date of incorporation was July 16, 1952. Following provi- 
sions of its new charter, the City of Warwick elected its first full five-member 
governing council on June 9, 1953, and began to develop its council-manager 
form of government. In addition to the five elected officers required by law, 
Warwick also elected by popular vote its city treasurer, commissioner of 
revenue, commonwealth attorney, clerk of court and city sergeant. 

But the City of Warwick was destined to continue only four years before 
another vast change took place. First in 1950 and again in 1956, three-way 
mergers were proposed embracing Newport News, Warwick and Hampton. 
In 1956 Hampton's negative vote had precluded that move. But the picture 
had sufficiently changed that, on July 16, 1957, the two cities of Newport 
News and Warwick were able to agree upon a two-way consolidation, omit- 
ting Hampton from the plan. On that date they voted to form a single city, 
the vote being 4,398 to 873 for the measure in Newport News and 3,939 
to 3,253 in favor of it in Warwick. On September 10, 1957, they further 
voted that the name of the consolidated city should be Newport News. On 
July 1, 1958, the City of Greater Newport News became an actuality, thus 
acquiring Warwick's rating as the largest city in land area — sixty-four square 
miles in all— and becoming third largest in population, with its 120,418 

County or city, it still retains its special character within the Greater City. 
Its residents once claimed for it the right of sovereignty as the third smallest 
county in the State. By consolidation with other interests it now achieves a 
greater sovereignty after a twentieth-century pattern. 

Va. 2—14 


References on Chapter XXV 

Warwick, The City and Its Government, booklet published by Corporation of Warwick, Va., 
Warwick, Va., 1956. 

The AUiriners Museum, Newport News, Virginia, folder issued by the Museum. 

War Memorial Museum of Virginia, folder issued by the Museum, Newport News, Va. 

The Historic Virginia Peninsula, folder of Virginia Peninsula Association of Commerce, Newport 
News, Va. 

Economic DaJa, Warwicis County, Va., Division of Planning and Development, Richmond, Va., 1951. 

The Daily Press, Newport News, Va., Sunday morning, June 29, 1958, special anniversary edition. 

The Washington Daily News, Washington, D. C, Monday, March 3, 1958, "Tidewater Virginia 

Newport News Times-Herald, May 1, 1958, Esso Standard Oil Company announcement. 

World Trade Conference Program, Hotel Chamberlin, Old Point Comfort, Fort Monroe, Va., Oc- 
tober 16-17, 1958. 

Newport News Times-Herald, March 31, 1958, special advertisement for the Virginia Lower 

Gold Star Honor Roll of Virginians in the Second World War, edited by W. Edwin Hemphill, 
Virginia World War II History Commission, Charlottesville, Va., 1957. 

Chapter XXVI 

The City of Newport News 


By Floyd McKmght 

WHEN COLLIS P. HUNTINGTON completed in 1869 the Cen- 
tral Pacific Railroad, a link in the country's first transcontinental 
rail line, he and his associates acquired the Chesapeake and 
Ohio Railroad and agreed to extend it across West Virginia to the Ohio 
River. This extension opened up the rich coal fields of West Virginia to 
vastly broader trade outlets, and, what was perhaps more important, opened 
Huntington's imagination to new conquests and a new industrial empire that 
lay before him to the southeast. 

With the road's eastern terminus extended by 1873 to Richmond, at the 
head of tidewater navigation on the James River, Huntington and those 
associated with him knew that the line's traffic potentialities could approach 
realization only if it were to be extended to an eastern terminus readily ac- 
cessible to ocean-going vessels. Surveys over a period of years ascertained 
several suitable points for such a terminus on the Chesapeake Bay and its 
tributaries — sites which offered suitable harbor facilities with adequate depth 
of water. 

In the annual report of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad for the fiscal 
year ended September 30, 1880, Mr. Huntington declared: 

After much research and deliberation on the subject of a suitable point 
on the Lower Chesapeake waters for a terminus, the Directors authorized 
me to acquire sufficient ground and water front for the purpose, at Newport 
News Point, fronting on Hampton Roads, at the confluence of the James 
River M'ith the waters of the great Bay. 

This is a point so designed and adapted by Nature, that it will require 
comparatively little at the hands of man to fit it for our purposes. The 
Roadstead (Hampton), well-known to all maritime circles, is large enough 
to float the ocean commerce of the world; it is easily approached in all winds 
and weather, without pilot or tow; it is never troubled by ice, and there is 
enough water to float any ship that sails the seas, and at the same time it is 
so sheltered that vessels can lie there in perfect safety at all seasons of the 
year. Lands have been secured having considerable frontage on deep water; 
and two wharves are contracted for. 


Trains were operating over the seventy-four miles of new rails from 
Richmond down the Peninsula to Newport News in time for the Yorktown 
Centennial, October 18, 1881, and the official opening of the railway 
followed on May 1, 1882. Coal was an early item of commerce over the 
line, but before 1882 was ended a covered pier for general merchandise 
was constructed, 700 feet long and abutting upo^n 27 feet of water, and 
equipped with "the most approved facilities for the handling and transfer of 
general merchandise and agricultural products," as well as a coal pier 825 
feet long and fronting on 30 feet of water, alongside which six vessels could 
be moored and simultaneously loaded with their cargoes. According to 
Mr. Huntington's report for 1882: 

The advantages of the deep-water terminus at Newport News are already 
felt, in a greater degree even than had been expected at so early a day, 
especially in their influence on the coal traffic of the road, both in the reduc- 
tion of vessel-freights for coastwise shipments, and also in the development of 
a new and profitable market for our coal in supplying sea-going steamers 
with fuel. The superior quality of our steam-coals for marine use, and the 
convenience and accessibility of Newport News as a coaling station for the 
largest steamships, are rapidly developing a business which is destined to 
assume very large proportions in the near future. One hundred and six 
ocean steamers have taken fuel at our Newport News wharves since the first 
one was coaled there in the month of August last. 

With more than 100,000 tons of coal loaded in only a part of a year, 
the Huntington group turned to more extensive plans iov Tidewater Virginia. 
In other areas where he had been active, Huntington experienced difficulties 
over land in connection with his railroad enterprises. Determining that this 
must not be the case in this instance, he founded the Old Dominion Land 
Company in 1880 and proceeded to acquire real estate in the vicinity of the 
big piers he had built. Engaging in the real estate business with the laying 
out of lots and their sale for business and residential purposes, he also set 
about charting the city that he envisioned in the surrounding area. The 
original map, made by Eugene E. McLean, of New York, and dated 
April 29, 1881, was filed in the Warwick County Court, but the file copy 
was lost. From the substance of that map, however, as shown on later maps 
that were drawn, the general plan was to a large extent followed in the 
subsequent development of Newport News. 

By April 11, 1883, Huntington had opened the impressive Hotel Warwick, 
which long dominated the expanse of farmlands in the new community. 
From this hotel one could see, as one guest said, "the sun rise from the sea 
and set in the placid waters of the James." The Warwick long was dominant 
in the area, not only physically as a massive and towering structure, but as 


a force in community life and a center where many notable personages met 
and foregathered and where giant enterprises had their beginnings. 

The personages in those early days — to name but a few — included, for 
instance, Huntington's own associates, all of them industrial giants from the 
North — his brother-in-law, Isaac E. Gates, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, treasurer 
of the Old Diminion Land Company; Frank Storrs, of Brooklyn, New York, 
its secretary; James H. Storrs, his father; Harvey Fisk, of New York; and 
A. S. Hatch, of Hudson County, New Jersey. All of those men were original 
incorporators of the land company. One Virginian who was a director of the 
organization was John Stewart, of Brook Hill, Henrico County, whose grand- 
son, John Stewart Byran, was for some years president of the College of 
William and Mary. Many other leading personalities stopped then and in 
later years at the Hotel Warwick, and from its spacious porch surveyed the 
new Huntington industrial landscape — a landscape consisting then of dirt and 
mud in a region where roads had not been built commensurate with the plans 
of the founders. 

When a new project was to be launched, its sponsors found no better 
place to discuss it than at the Warwick, where they were inspired by the watery 
vista before them and the boldness and extent of the Huntington dream, as 
well as challenged by the very crudity of the beginning. In one of the 
Warwick's rooms a print shop was started, and the first Newport News news- 
paper, The VTedge, was published from this shop on April 21, 1883, by 
Cassius M. ("Cash") Thomas. Other developments of 1883 included a great 
grain elevator with a capacity of 1,500,000 bushels to promote the grain trade 
and provide the heavy cargo needed for the balanced loading of ships. In 
1884 the so-called Kanawha Dispatch began soliciting freight traffic on a 
more extensive scale through creating faster water-rail combinations of freight 
movements between the industrial northeast and interior areas. 

Perhaps the greatest and most enduringly important of these organizations 
was started in 1886 — the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Com- 
pany, which completed its first dry dock in 1889. This company has vastly 
grown in importance to the nation, building a continuous succession of 
giant ocean liners and practically all classes of ships vital to United States 
defense in modern warfare. Its achievements alone are a story of brilliant 
distinction in Newport News industry. In 1887 a direct steamship line was 
projected between Newport News and Liverpool, for which port the S.S. 
Rappahannock sailed on September 10, 1893. 

Meanwhile, the vacant areas around the Hotel Warwick were attracting 
the interest of settlers who saw reason why they wished to throw in their 
lot with the fortunes of the newly developing community. The hotel itself 
remained a center of organization meetings for the many companies formed, 


including those of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company 
and many others. In December, 1888, the Bank of Newport News started 
operations in quarters prepared for it in the hotel itself. Capitalized at 
$25,000, the bank grew and prospered until, under a new charter dated 
September 19, 1891, it became the First National Bank of Newport News. 

In 1888 the Hotel Warwick, through an official order by Judge G. M. 
Peek, even became the seat of the Warwick County government, which moved 
from Denbigh.* The County Court took over quarters on the hotel's ground 
floor. For four years the hotel was the center of county government until 
the new Court House was ready at Twenty-fifth Street and Huntington 
Avenue in 1892. 

Among other plans revealed in the first map of Newport News, mentioned 
above, were those for certain streets and roads, beginning with First Street at 
the tip of Newport News Point. Probably under the influence of the ap- 
proaching Yorktown Centennial celebration, preparations for which were 
then under way, the two main avenues indicated on that early map were 
named Washington and Lafayette. It was not until 1903, three years after 
Huntington's death and seven years after Newport News had become a 
city, that Lafayette Avenue was renamed Huntington Avenue by action of 
the City Council. That Council itself and the office of mayor were created 
in 1896, in "An Act to Incorporate the City of Newport News in the County 
of Warwick and to provide a Charter therefor," duly approved by the 
General Assembly of Virginia. The boundaries were thus described: 

Beginning at a point at low-water mark on James River, where the center 
line of Fiftieth Street produced intersects the same; thence easterly along 
the said center line of Fiftieth Street to the westerly boundary line of the 
right of way of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company; thence fol- 
lowing the said right of way southwardly to the center of Thirty-sixth Street; 
thence eastwardly along the said center of said Thirty-sixth Street to the 
intersection of the center line of Madison Avenue; thence along the said 
center line of Madison Avenue to the center line of Thirty-second street; 
thence along the said center line of Thirty-second Street eastwardly to the 
boundary line between the counties of Elizabeth City and Warwick; thence 
with said county line southward to the intersection of the center line of 
Twentieth Street; thence along said center line of Twentieth Street westerly 
to the easterly side of the right of way of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway 
Company, being three hundred feet westerly from Warwick Avenue; thence 
along the said easterly side of the right of way of the Chesapeake and Ohio 
Railway Company to a point in the line with the southeastern boundary line 
of George B. West's property produced in a northeasterly direction; thence 
in a southwesterly direction along the said line of George B. West produced 

* (See Chapter XXV, "Warwick River Shire"). 


and with the said George B. West line to low-water mark on James River; 
thence along the low-water mark northerly to the point of beginning, in 
accordance with the map of the City of Newport News, made by W. A. Post, 
civil engineer; all of the said territory being in the County of Warwick, shall 
be deemed and taken as the City of Newport News, and said boundaries 
shall be construed to embrace all wharves, docks and other structures of 
every description that have been or may hereafter be erected along said 
waterfront; and the inhabitants of the City of Newport News for all pur- 
poses for which towns and cities are incorporated in this Commonwealth 
shall continue to be a body politic in fact and in name under the denomina- 
tion of the City of Newport News, and as such shall have, exercise and 
enjoy all the rights, immunities, powers and privileges conferred upon cities 
by law; be subject to all laws now in force and all that may be hereafter 
enacted for the government of cities of five thousand (5,000) or more in- 
habitants, and be subject to all duties and obligations now incumbent upon 
and pertaining to said city as a municipal corporation. 

Prior to that Act of Incorporation in 1896, the area destined to be in- 
cluded within the boundaries of the new city was the most populous part of 
Warwick County. The government was the county government, with the 
usual Board of Supervisors and county officers. The area incorporated as a 
city in 1896 had had a population of only 773 in 1870 and 948 in 1880. By 
1890 it had 4,449 inhabitants, and by 1896 more than 9,000. The reasons for 
that outstanding growth have been recited in the story of the events bringing 
the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and related enterprises to Newport News 
in the two decades preceding incorporation. 

The thoughts of the founding fathers naturally turned to further im- 
provements when the city form took shape. The Newport News Light and 
Water Company had already obtained a charter in 1889. The community's 
rapid growth now made necessary the creation of a sound police department, 
the existence of which actually preceded the creation of the city itself by 
two years. Impatient with the delayed actions of the old County Board of 
Supervisors with respect to new problems, some of the citizens of the new 
community engineered through the General Assembly in 1894 "An Act to 
Provide Special Police for Newport Magisterial District," as the region was 
called under the old county form of government. A resulting three-man 
Board of Police was instituted and empowered to appoint "a special police 
force, to consist of not less than two suitable and discreet persons, who shall 
have authority within the said magisterial district, and within one hundred 
yards of the boundary lines of the said district, to exercise all the powers 
which can lawfully be exercised by any constable for the preservation of the 
peace, the arrest of offenders and disorderly persons, and for the enforcement 
of the laws of the state against crime." 



Problems that followed the sudden springing up of a growing city in- 
volved the building of schools, bridges, sewers, a jail and a hospital. Legis- 
lation in the General Assembly in 1898 therefore authorized the Common 
Council of Newport News to incur indebtedness and borrow money for 
public improvements. Twenty-two amendments to the city charter were 
adopted at the 1899-1900 session of the Assembly, most of them approving 



the issuance of bonds and borrowing of money. One of the amendments 
created the office of city attorney. Another extended the city's boundaries to 
include the area between Fiftieth and Fifty-seventh Streets, then in Warwick 
County. This area, extending all the way from low-water mark on the James 
River to the westerly boundary of the Chesapeake and Ohio right-of-way, 
was the new city's first annexation. 

Speeding by vehicles was a subject of early local legislation by the City 
Council. The ordinance adopted prohibited any animal or "beast" attached to 
"a truck, cart, wagon, sled, or a dray" to be driven, led or guided at a faster 
gait than "a moderate foot pace." Dusty streets were probably one strong 
reason for this action. At the turn of the century a "chain gang," so called 
in a city ordinance and by the public at large, kept the streets in repair. 
License fees were established, $5 being extracted from a fish peddler and 
$25 from one licensed to "tell the future." A fortune teller now pays $1,000; 
a fish peddler, $15. On "each and every person crying or selling patent or 
quack medicine in the streets or other public places," the license fee was $5 
per day. The city treasury did well on its income from license taxes levied 


on the numerous open saloons and bar-rooms that flourished, with a shding 
scale ranging from $50 to $100. 

On May 19, 1896, the Common Council adopted an official city seal, 
bearing the motto, "Aiagni Dei Datum," which one former city attorney 
translated from the Latin as "Gift of the Great God." But by June 23 of 
that incorporation year the Council had returned to its favorite field of action 
— taxation. It then fixed a tax rate on real and personal property — 60 cents 
on every $100 of the assessed value of such property for municipal purposes 
and 80 cents for school purposes. At the same time there was levied an in- 
come tax. This ordinance declared: 

On the salary or income received by any person during the year com- 
mencing February first, 1896, and ending January thirty-first, 1897, sixty cents 
upon each one hundred dollars value thereof in excess of six hundred dollars; 
provided that the salary of a minister of the Gospel and the salary of the 
oificers paid out of the treasury of the City shall be exempt from taxation; 
and, provided further that no income shall be hereby taxed which may be 
derived from any business, calling or profession or subject of taxation other- 
wise taxed in this or any other ordinance of the City. 

The city was only two years old when the Spanish-American War called 
attention to it. It became one of the main ports of embarkation for the 
invasion of the Spanish possessions in the West Indies. At that time New- 
port News launched its first battleships, the Kearsarge and the Kentucky. 
The Jamestown Exposition in 1907 laid heavy additional responsibilities upon 
the local government. 

As early as the turn of the century Newport News became a sufi^erer 
from many of the ills that beset city life. In 1899 there was a yellow fever 
scare — particularly frightful at a time when many yet alive remembered the 
devastating epidemic of 1855 in the Hampton Roads area. The 1899 scare 
originated in illness appearing at the Old Soldiers' Home in Phoebus, and 
was later said to have been caused by polluted water from a cistern invaded 
by poisoned rats. Many citizens fled in alarm by boat and train from the 
Peninsula, and a quarantine boundary was established between Newport 
News and Elizabeth City County. 

Another regrettable development at the turn of the century was the 
decay of the district around River Road and Eighteenth Street, which was 
named "Hell's Half Acre" and managed to live up to its name. By 1908 the 
practice of "crimping" at Newport News became the subject of an article 
in the July issue of The Sailors' Magazine and Seamen's Friend, attacking 
deplorable conditions on the local waterfront. "Crimping" was similar to 
"Shanghai-ing" — the practice of practically enslaving sailors by signing them 
on board ships when drunk or drugged. Whatever activity there was of this 


sort was an evil of "Hell's Half Acre." Nine years later another grim corner 
called by the picturesque designation of "Bloodfield" had arisen just beyond 
the city limits; and in order to clean it up, the city extended its limits from 
Twentieth Street, between Marshall Avenue and the Chesapeake and Ohio 
right of way, to low-water mark on Hampton Roads and the James River. 
This extension also served to bring into the city the then recently developed 
Municipal Boat Harbor. 

In fact, over a period of years several annexations of greater or lesser 
importance took place, beginning with the area between Fiftieth and Fifty- 
seventh Streets at the turn of the century. Then came "Bloodfield" in 1917. 
On April 15, 1920, an area from Fifty-seventh to Sixty- fourth Streets was 
annexed because it had become solidly populated and was far removed from 
the other more densely inhabited parts of Warwick County. Effective Janu- 
ary 1, 1921, the city moved eastward to Salter's Creek and its West Branch, 
between Twentieth and Thirty-second Streets. Six months later came the 
addition of an area bounded on the north by the Hampton Branch Line of 
the Chesapeake and Ohio and extending eastward to the Elizabeth City 
County line. On January 1, 1927, Kecoughtan came into Newport News on 
petition of its own citizens, as two months later did a small and isolated 
piece of land which, geographically, was more logically a part of the city than 
of Elizabeth City County, in which it had theretofore been included. On 
December 5, 1940, Newport News annexed a similarly isolated piece of 
Warwick County. 

While it was thus growing in area, Newport News was steadily increasing 
its population. From 9,000 inhabitants in 1896, when it was incorporated 
as a city, the figure mounted to 19,635 in the 1900 census. A period of 
relative stagnation brought this figure only up to 20,205 in 1910, but by 
1920, through the instrumentality of port activity in World War I, Newport 
News had 35,596 people residing within its boundaries. After another 
slight decline in the 1930 census, the figure reported in 1940, just before 
the United States entered World War II, was 37,067. World War II again 
gave a remarkable impetus to city development here, increasing the popula- 
tion to 75,000, then to 100,000, and holding for a considerable time at 
around 50,000 after the war emergency had ended. 

The 1950s brought a further new phase of development to Newport 
News, with mammoth decisions of political and economic import and eventual 
growth of the city's geographical area and vast population increases. The 
result is that the greatly expanded city's population today stands at more 
than 120,000 inhabitants, while Newport News itself is a part of a vast 
Hampton Roads municipal development which, given certain favorable condi- 
tions, could easily emulate or even surpass that of the great metropolis of 
New York to the north. Suffice it to point out here that when the two 



Virginia cities of Warwick and Hampton were separately constituted in 
1952, each had a tremendous land area. Warwick was the larger of the two, 
having an area greater than that of Washington, Boston, Minneapolis, Denver 
or Kansas City and about the size of Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis or 
Baltimore. Richmond's land area was about one-half of that of Warwick. 
And Hampton's area was twice that of Norfolk. With Warwick and Newport 


News now merged into the Greater Newport News since the summer of 
1958, and with a population of 184,786 estimated for Newport News and 
Hampton combined at that time, it does not require great imagination to 
envision a brilliant future for the Lower Peninsula. In addition, probably 
no city in the United States can boast such ample room for growth and 
expansion for probably generations ahead! 

As early as 1952, before the consolidation of Newport News and Warwick 
into one giant city, the United States Census Bureau officially designated the 
three cities of Newport News, Hampton and Warwick as a "metropolitan 
area," which constituted the third largest metropolitan market in Virginia. 
Thus the entire modern background of Newport News is that of industry 
and world-wide commerce, and from the initial capitalizing of the Chesa- 
peake and Ohio to development of most of the city's important industries the 
trend has been for the city to become ever more closely linked with other 


parts of the United States and the rest of the world. Initially attracting 
Northern capital, the city gradually brought in leaders from many parts of 
Virginia to lend native genius and know-how to the great enterprises that 
had been begun. Then shipbuilding and shipping connected Newport News 
with the farthest reaches of the earth. And the friendly rivalry with the 
Norfolk-Portsmouth industrial community across the James serv^es but to 
create an ever more important Hampton Roads business and industrial center. 

Figures now show that there are 43,000 men, women and children di- 
rectly supported by Newport News shipyard operations. Commercial and 
defense operations have necessitated vast expansions costing $10,000,000 or 
more within the last two years. In this same period Esso Standard Oil 
Company has established a petroleum terminal and "farm" of fourteen giant 
tanks with a combined capacity of more than 22,000,000 gallons. The com- 
pany has introduced the latest improvements for bunkering ships and econ- 
omizing on loading time. Standard's 1,150-foot pier is close to the Chesapeake 
and Ohio terminal area, so that vessels moored at Chesapeake and Ohio 
Piers 14 and 15 bunker at the same time they are loading their cargoes of 
coal. This arrangement was a definite "first" in pier loading techniques, and 
even as we go to press arrangements are under way for similar developments 
at the new Chesapeake and Ohio ore pier. Esso Standard's facilities provide 
for receiving bulk lots of gasoline, kerosene, solvents, jet fuels, bunker oil, 
diesel fuel and heating oil from ocean-going tankers, which are in turn 
distributed by tank trucks, railway tank cars, pipelines and barges. Another 
big development on the Lower Peninsula is the ore storage depot of the 
Union Ore Corporation, a subsidiary of Union Carbide Chemical Company. 
This depot, on a 360-acre site in what was formerly Warwick, is designed 
mainly as a storage place for manganese and chrome ore. This ore is brought 
in through the new Chesapeake and Ohio ore-handling pier, and is in turn 
redistributed to Union Carbide Chemicals plants as needed. In the very near 
future the company will attempt some ore processing at this site. 

With an economy based upon shipping, as evidenced by the entry of 
9,000 ships per year into Hampton Roads, only in recent years has the 
Lower Peninsula attracted dynamic land-centered industries to support the 
vast maritime facilities. A concerted effort has yielded results in this direc- 
tion, with such organizations as the Peninsula Industrial Committee in New- 
port News and the Tidewater Virginia Development Council in Norfolk 
making Herculean struggles toward this end. The Peninsula group serves 
Newport News, Hampton and York County, while the younger Norfolk body 
strives to lure valued industry into Norfolk, Portsmouth, South Norfolk, 
Suflfolk and the southside counties of Nansemond, Isle of Wight and South- 
ampton, as well as those of Accomack, Northampton and Princess Anne. 
In recent years considerable concentrated support has been forthcoming 


from the Virginia State Ports Authority, the State Department of Con- 
servation and Development, the Hampton Roads Maritime Association, dif- 
ferent chambers of commerce and trade groups and promotion departments 
of railroads and shipping groups. 

So do interdependent communities and industries in a modern society 
gradually merge old rivalries into new economically and socially compatible 
forms. Still another example of this trend was the step taken in 1956 by 
the Virginia State Ports Authority in calling together a private industry 
committee to explore possibilities for improving port facilities. The group 
appointed a committee of consulting engineers to make a survey and recom- 
mendations, with the result that they urged an expenditure of $76,000,000 on 
Hampton Roads port expansion in the coming ten years. The Ports Authority 
organization then suggested that the terminal-owning railroads serving the 
port join with the State of Virginia to launch the first stages of the plan. 
A bill has already been introduced in the General Assembly to authorize 
funds for studies as to how to implement the project as it has been en- 

The Port of Hampton Roads is now served by scheduled steamships 
such as those of the American Export Lines, with regular sailings to the Far 
East and the Mediterranean. Numerous other American flag lines bring 
their ships into Hampton Roads, and each month a large fleet of foreign 
vessels enters the harbor. The Federal Maritime Commission recently de- 
clared that a trade route was essential that would link Hampton Roads and 
other Chesapeake Bay ports to Europe by means of regular sailings of 
combination cargo-passenger vessels under the United States flag. 

A tremendous influence in these industrial and maritime developments has 
been, of course. United States participation in two world wars. Even in the 
Spanish-American War, the first shot was fired on April 21, 1898, by the gun- 
boat Nashville, built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock 
Company, and in the summer of that year the port facilities of Newport 
News were taken over by the Federal Government, which established a port of 
embarkation here. But when the United States entered World War I, in 
1917, Hampton Roads suddenly became a gateway of ocean traffic. The 
wharves and piers of New York were found inadequate. Railways in other 
parts of the nation were congested. Both Government and private shippers 
were seeking outlets. Newport News and Norfolk boasted eight trunk rail- 
ways, an unsurpassed harbor and accessibility to coal and cotton. 

Consequently, commerce in the area doubled, tripled and then quadrupled. 
The gray ships of the world appeared — harbor craft, ships taking on cargoes, 
ships just standing and waiting, and, above all, ships being created anew and 
sent to sail the seas and defend the land. Coal became the major export 
through this port. It was needed for fuel in war-torn Europe. Trains brought 


it in vast quantities from the West Virginia fields, to be transferred to ships 
at Newport News, Seawell's Point and Lambert's Point. The year 1918 
brought other projects. Ironically, the James River froze solid in the winter 
of 1917-1918. Freight piled up on the piers and shipping was paralyzed, and 
even battleships, working as icebreakers, could make little headway through 
those frozen waters. So bitter had been the weather that, even when path- 
ways were cleared, the coal awaiting shipment on the piers had frozen and 
defied all efforts to load it onto the ships until steam pipes could be run 
through the cars to loosen the pieces. 

As the rigors of war continued, coal shipments were more and more 
diverted to domestic ports to free the railroads, which were taxed to the 
limit and needed for other war work. During that period petroleum products 
were also among those shipped from Newport News, as well as iron and 
steel. Hampton Roads also shipped fruits and vegetables, as well as fish, 
oysters and clams — a major industry of the entire Tidewater Virginia area. 
Chilean nitrates figured increasingly as imports through Newport News at 
that critical period, when Nor^'egian, Swedish and Danish vessels brought 
these fertilizer materials into the United States at the insistence of the War 
Board to take the place of kainite, which had been previously used for the 
purpose but was cut off by the blockade of Germany. 

Most important of all were the troops and direct military supplies that 
went out through Hampton Roads. At that time Norfolk, Portsmouth and 
Newport News shared the burdens and bounties of war. In Norfolk were 
all the trappings and trimmings of what was made the greatest Army base 
in the United States — concrete warehouses, miles of track, a rifle factory and 
huge piers. Near Seawell's Point grew up a great municipal terminal, with 
new water mains leading to the base. Workers came from throughout the 
United States to take part in all the activities of all the Hampton Roads 
municipalities, lavishly providing modern equipment. Giant cranes swung 
locomotives from piers onto the holds of transports as adroitly as though 
they were children's toys, delicately and softly placing them down to the 
last square inch in exactly the space allotted to them. A new world of twen- 
tieth-century industry was being born, with technical skills that had never 
been achieved before but were a harbinger of days and conditions to come. 

Side by side with the shipbuilding and giant industrial operations that 
were developing, the discomforts and hardships of war were felt in the 
Hampton Roads area perhaps more keenly than in most places in America. 
The rapid development of wartime industries had stretched and strained 
the economy, with a resultant weakening of the fabric at critical points of 
stress. The stress was felt particularly in such activities as the furnishing 
of heat and food, which were widely neglected. Labor flovv-ed rapidly from 
the farms and fields to the cities and industries where many times the 


amount of money was waiting to be earned. Vegetables and farm products 
even rotted and spoiled on the farms because no one was available to 
harvest and sell them. At the same time, the vast influx of people from all 
parts of the United States had to be fed and provided for — most often 
from local supplies rather than from any shipped-in provisions from outside. 
In addition, the demand was heavy for shipment of all available food to the 
peoples of war-torn European countries, while wheat went uncut and po- 
tatoes undug because of the forced labor conditions at home. Newport News 
was an acute sufferer, probably because industrial advancement had reached 
its most modern and improved status here. The shortages increased to such 
an extent that on one occasion the people actually raided the coalyards for 
fuel — all this while President Woodrow Wilson and the Navy Department 
were making Hampton Roads the greatest naval base in the country. 

But privations were suffered stoically in the interests of the common 
cause. Boys from all parts of the United States passed through the Peninsula, 
including what was then Warwick County, to the Newport News Port of 
Embarkation. Five Army camps were constructed — Camps Eustis, Morrison, 
Hill, Alexander and Stuart. Sturdy old oaks were razed. Aviation and balloon 
schools, heavy artillery and infantry installations, facilities for all branches 
of training, and miles and miles of barracks were established almost over- 
night. Men trained at Camp McClellan, in the beautiful foothills of the 
Blue Ridge, poured through the Newport News Port of Embarkation until 
June, 1918, having learned there the techniques of trench digging, grenade 
throwing, use of the bayonet and rifle shooting. After that time, more and 
more of them were trained fully at the military camps set up much nearer 
the port. At Camp Eustis was what was said to have been the only school 
of railway artillery in the world. It served also as a replacement training 
center for the Coast Artillery and later as a prisoner-of-war camp. 

Meanwhile, waterways and reservoirs in the area were enlarged to three 
times their original capacity. Road-beds were put in perfect condition. Con- 
sumption of water supplied by the Light and Water Company of Warwick 
County went up from the 3,500,000-gallon-per-day figure of pre-war days 
to 8,000,000 gallons and higher in 1918 and 1919. To furnish this addi- 
tional supply, water had to be pumped from Harwood's Mill Pond into Lee 
Hall Reservoir at the rate of 2,000,000 gallons daily. The Federal Govern- 
ment built Skiff's Creek Reservoir and Harwood's Mill Reservoir as extra 
basins to meet the sudden new demand. Although the demand was actually 
doubled at that period, not all the new facilities for water supply were 
needed. But had the war continued longer, all the facilities would have 
been needed. To protect the new installations, the State of Virginia detailed 
forty men of the Huntington Rifles of Newport News for reservoir guard 


duty. They were later replaced by a company from the Forty-eighth Infantry 

Churches and schools suffered along with agriculture. But to the best of 
their ability the women of the community carried on these activities alone. 
Although opposed to war as conscientious objectors on religious grounds, the 
Mennonite Church helped assiduously to organize a War Suffering Relief 
fund and raised $571,206.55 for use in aid of European war sufferers. This 
sect also did a great deal of valuable conservation work at home, and after 
the war many of its members volunteered for reconstruction services in 
European countries, serving without remuneration. When the Mennonite boys 
were drafted, they usually did farm work, which was perhaps more sorely 
needed than any other kind of activity. In the course of the conflict, 140 mem- 
bers donated personally $3,034.57 for relief work, though obviously their 
group was not made up of the wealthy. For a long-continuing period after 
the war they continued to make garments for war orphans. The "widow's 
mite" of the Mennonites placed this group as a whole in the category of 
war heroes, though they were conscientious objectors. 

Much relief work was performed, of course, by the Newport News Red 
Cross. In Newport News and the lower end of the Peninsula, $1,000,000 
worth of Liberty Bonds were sold; in Warwick County, $500,000 worth of 
bonds. At the reservoirs, sales of Liberty Bonds totaled $7,000. Vast addi- 
tional sums were collected for Red Cross and Salvation Army relief work, 
and $500,000 worth of War Savings Stamps were sold. Virginia hospitality 
opened the doors of many private homes to lonely and homesick service 
men, some of whom formed lasting ties of friendship with their "war 
families." Despite meatless and wheatless days, Newport News families 
shared what they were able to share. 

Camp Eustis, founded in March, 1918, was redesignated Fort Eustis on 
January 10, 1923, after which it continued as a training station, operated 
in conjunction with Fort Monroe; and other lands on which camps were 
built were reclaimed in peacetime years and used for producing sizeable 
harvests of grain. The actual result of World War I was a notable increase 
in farm acreages in many parts of Virginia. As Captain John Smith had 
said three centuries earlier, "Heaven and earth never agreed better to frame 
a place for man's habitation." Another later commentator said "there was 
no reason why Tidewater Virginia should not come to rival England in 
fertility." A third commentator, marveling at the wartime productivity, despite 
all adverse circumstances, was Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury, whose 
comment was that "everything which can be cultivated in France, Germany 
or England may be grown here, equally as well, with other things besides." 

By the summer of 1918 large numbers of United States soldiers were 
actually sailing aboard great transport ships for France. On June 15, 1918, 



the 116th Regiment, including many Virginians from the Tidewater area, 
sailed from Hoboken, New Jersey, aboard the transport Finland. Arriving at 
St. Nazaire, these troops disembarked, moved in box cars labelled "hommes — 
AO, chevaux — 8" to a camp at Champlitte. This camp was situated next to 
a quiet sector in Alsace, where their arrival served to release more seasoned 
troops for active service on the fighting fronts. But soon there, too, hostile 

(Courtesy Va. Peninsula Ass'n of Commerce) 

aircraft appeared in the skies and German raids and United States counter- 
raids became a part of the day's experiences. When, in late September, they 
were ordered to the front, autumn rains made their service in France all the 
muddier and more difficult. On September 26, 1918, General John J. Pershing 
launched the Meuse-Argonne offensive, which effected a salient in the German 
lines from Samogneux along the Meuse to Brieulles and thence westward 
to the Argonne. The salient itself permitted the Germans to fire down 
from the heights of the Meuse upon the United States right flank, which was 
also exposed to counter-attack from the rear. Pershing's plan was to straighten 
out the line by an offensive east of the river. 

The brunt of this attack fell upon the Twenty-ninth Division. In the 
offensive of October 8 the 11 6th and 115th Regiments, including great 
numbers of Tidewater Virginians, were associated with the French Eighteenth 
Regiment. From a key German post at Ornes, a few miles to the east, came 
a terrific German defense, and by nightfall their line running through the 

Va. 2—15 


northern outskirts of Bois de Consenvoye, three miles from Samogneux, was 
no longer a threat to Pershing's right flank. After days of bitter fighting, in 
which the Twenty-ninth Division had captured 2,148 prisoners and twenty- 
one pieces of artillery and had lost 6,159 men, it was relieved by the Seventy- 
ninth Division. Also participating in the Meuse-Argonne offensive were 
great numbers of draftees from Tidewater Virginia, many of whom were 
in the Eightieth Division and were subject to the constant threat of German 
submarine warfare as the great transports, heavily troop-laden, approached 
the shores of France. 

On July 4, 1918, known as "Liberty Launching Day," three destroyers 
were launched at the Newport News shipyard — the Thomas, the Hiiraden and 
the Abbot. At Newport News Point was also established what was known as 
the Southern Shipyard, which built and repaired all types and sizes of ships 
and remained in operation until 1934. It was placed in operation in Novem- 
ber, 1918, only a few days before the signing of the armistice on November 11. 

After the war the Newport News Port of Embarkation naturally became 
a center for returning troops, who were cared for when wounded or ill and 
processed for separation from the Army when they were ready to resume 
civilian life. On April 13, 1919, the Victory Arch, spanning Twenty-fifth 
Street at West Avenue, was dedicated. This arch, built from funds raised by 
popular subscription in tribute to the returning soldiers, 441,146 of whom 
passed through it on their return bore the inscription, written by Robert G. 
Bickford: "Greetings with love to those who return — a triumph with tears 
to those who sleep." On August 22, 1919, Camp Stuart Hospital was closed 
and the final processing of returning troops took place at the port. Three 
days later, on August 25, Braxton-Perkins Post No. 25 of the American 
Legion was founded at Newport News. 

Peace could now begin in earnest, as was evidenced in abandonment of 
the outmoded bicameral form of city government and adoption of a city 
manager-Council form of government on September 1, 1920. The first mayor 
under the new form was Philip W. Hiden, who was active in both city 
affairs and in business life until his death in October, 1936. In 1922 he 
established the Hiden Storage and Forwarding Company on the basis of 
twenty-five warehouses which he acquired from the United States Govern- 
ment, which offered them for sale. These warehouses were situated near the 
Morrison Railroad Station, and Mr. Hiden was the successful bidder for 
them. Much of its business was in tobacco storage, the main initial customer 
having been the old Tobacco Growers' Cooperative Association, consisting of 
farmers of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. From 1923 they 
combined to use the Hiden warehouse facilities, and after their association 
was discontinued in 1926 many of them individually continued as important 
customers. The Hiden business continued after the founder's death. 


Like any fast-developing city, the government of Newport News had 
grown with the city, but often had not kept pace with industry in point of 
efficiency and organization. In the 1890s it is doubtful if a budget was ever 
made. Obligations simply came, and the city fathers met them with re- 
sources at hand, which included hope and good will. When the old bi- 
cameral form of government was adopted on May 20, 1903, the date on 
which the General Assembly approved an act creating it, the city treasury 
boasted only $150,000 instead of the $350,000 required for a sinking fund 
to meet the city's bond obligations. Prompt measures overcame that situation 
and managed to take care of the city's finances and problems for close to two 
decades. The old Common Council consisted of sixteen members; the Board 
of Alderman, of eight members. Four councilmen and two aldermen were 
elected from each of the four wards created by the legislative act setting 
up that form. 

Repeated annexations and leaps of business growth had completely out- 
moded that form of government by the time of World War I. And one 
of the first steps taken after that war had been definitely left to the realm 
of memory was the founding of the city manager-Council government in 
1920. By this plan five councilmen elected at large in turn elected their own 
Council president, who served ex-ojficio as mayor, and their Council vice 
president, who was to act as mayor pro tempore in case of the mayor's 
absence or disability. A city manager was then chosen to fill the executive 
function so necessary to efficient municipal government. 

As Newport News returned from the swollen condition of war to 
normal commercial life, new business enterprises representing new kinds of 
business initiative helped to promote a more real and substantial growth. 
When Hilton Village was put up for sale by the United States Shipping 
Board in 1921, the Newport News Land Corporation became its purchaser; 
and on this site homes were erected and sold to private owners. By 1922 
many residents started this suburban trend. It was on February 6, 1922, that 
a new and unusual development set in for the city — conclusion of the 
Washington Conference for the Limitation of Armaments and the resultant 
scrapping of uncompleted naval vessels and cancellation of contracts for 
others. During this period the battleship Iowa, 31-8 per cent completed, was 
among the ships demolished at the Newport News Shipyard. 

In 1923 the Shipyard entered upon a new field — water turbine construc- 
tion. The first hydraulic turbines were put into the service of the Virginia 
Electric and Power Locks Station in Richmond. Peacetime shipping kept the 
yards busy, however, and by 1926 considerable new shipbuilding was under 
way. On March 20 of that year nine vessels were launched in a single day — 
a record never before equalled. The spectacle attracted 30,000 visitors, who 
saw these ships start their useful careers — the Merchants and Miners Liner 


Dorchester, the yachts Savarona, Josephhie and Aras. the dredge Rciyiiif>nd, 
one car float and three Chesapeake and Ohio Railway barges. Three new 
keels were laid on that same day. 

There followed a time of business, civic and cultural expansion for the 

(Courtesy \'j. PenimuLi Ass'u of Commerce) 

city. Outstanding among the businesses founded at that period was the 
Horace E. Dodge Boat and Plane Corporation, which occupied 100 acres 
fronting on Hampton Roads east of the Municipal Boat Harbor at the foot 
of Marshall Avenue. This property had formerly been a part of Camp Stuart 
in World War I, spreading over more than 281 acres in all. The Camp 
Stuart site was originally desired by a Federal Government agency for use 
as a housing development for homes for Shipyard employes working on 
Navy contracts. The area was a part of Warwick County, which would have 
protested the Government plan, refraining only because of the urgency of the 
demand. The agency concerned requested Newport News to annex the area; 
and steps might have been taken in this direction except that an expenditure 
of $300,000 was needed for public improvements in the area if the building 
plan could be made permissible at all. It was here that the Horace E. Dodge 
Company undertook to make speedboats and related products. The Dodge 
plant is now occupied by the Arkell Safety Bag Company. Another Newport 


News business enterprise which grew to great importance was the Noland 
Company, which from 1922 was increasingly a leader in the plumbing busi- 
ness throughout the Southeast, and which in 1938 moved to new quarters at 
Twenty-sixth Street and Virginia Avenue. 

All this vast development indicated the need of new civic and cultural 
efforts. Transportation and communications required improvement. The open- 
ing of the lift draw span known as the James River Bridge took place on 
November 17, 1928, amid great pomp and ceremony. The linking of Warwick 
County and Isle of Wight County four and one-half miles across the James 
was, indeed, a great event for Newport News, whose isolation because of its 
position at the tip of the Peninsula was rapidly ending. The bridge was 
said to be at that time the longest in the world. Three days later, on No- 
vember 20, 1928, the Newport News radio station WNEW, started in 1923, 
adopted the call letters WGH, signifying "World's Greatest Harbor." 

It seems that blessings seldom come unattended by misfortune, and the 
misfortune of that period for Newport News industry and social life was, 
of course, the Great Depression, during which business declined practically 
to a standstill, activity languished and confidence vanished away. Yet in that 
dark period many cultural establishments of note had their beginning. If 
the human family could not push the common economy forward, it could 
devote at least some measure of substance and energy to the creation of 
spiritual satisfactions. 

Most notable of the creations was perhaps The Mariners' Museum, then 
in Warwick County, now Newport News. This museum, founded on June 2, 
1930, by Archer M. Huntington, then principal owner of the Newport News 
Shipyard, was chartered by the Virginia State Legislature and took over about 
1,000 acres of land in Warwick, fronting on the James River. The project 
was to include a library in addition to the museum itself, the whole to be 
surrounded by a park. The dedication was to "the Culture of the Sea and 
Its Tributaries, Its Conquest by Man, and Its Influence on Civilization." The 
completed park actually contained more than 700 acres, beautifully situated 
on the James, about six miles north of the Peninsula's tip, near the junction 
of Routes 60 and 17. The library includes approximately 32,000 volumes, 
and the museum's collection consists of ships' figureheads, prints and marine 
paintings, ship models, navigation instruments and other objects of marine 
interest. The museum is open, free of charge to the public, every day in the 
year, except Christmas — weekdays from 9 to 5 and Sundays from 2 to 5. 
The library is open weekdays. 

Exhibits include everything pertaining to ships throughout the world, 
now and in the past, with even projections into the future when these are 
possible. Famous shipwrecks of all time, merchant sailing vessels of the 
nineteenth century, facts of the old whaling days, the trials of lighthouse 

(Courtesy The Mariners' Museum) 

(Lojirlt-j) I he ALiinien' Museum) 


keeping, captains' desks of the past, early porcelain brought in from all 
parts of the world, old ship logs, maps and sea charts, ships of the Great 
Lakes — these are a few of the almost endless subjects of special exhibits over 
which any one loving or even marveling at the sea can linger and ponder 
for hours or days at a time. Old books with fore-edge paintings, visible only 
when the pages are fanned, but otherwise showing only a shiny gold sur- 
facing, are included in the collections — tomes once valued highly for this 
peculiarly esoteric art. The story of ambergris is graphically told here — a 
substance taken from sick and thin whales, of disagreeable odor, but, para- 
doxically enough, used as a fixative for volatile oils and aromatic fluids in 
expensive perfumes. Marine sheet music is the subject of an extensive exhibit. 

The story of Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury, after whom the 
Commodore Maury Hotel in Norfolk is named, is recounted in graphic 
detail. Known as the "Pathfinder of the Seas," Maury was the first superin- 
tendent of the United States Naval Observatory, and was known throughout 
the world for his amazingly accurate charts of winds and currents, which 
over and over again provided sailing directions for those lost at sea and 
those seeking to find the lost-at-sea. Many nations honored him for his 
achievements in oceanography. His remarkable gifts, just as an example, were 
capable of locating the exact spot of the San Francisco's sinking in the 
disastrous gale in which she capsized in 1853. His "Wind and Current 
Charts" actually made seafaring a scientific and far safer undertaking than 
it had ever been before. They were an all-encompassing compilation, re- 
cording wind directions and the set of the currents, taking into account the 
conditions of barometer and thennometer and evaluating all phenomena 
observed by sailors. His aim in life was to aid mankind, never resting on 
past laurels. Through his efforts a system arose for planning daily weather 
reports for farmers. He lectured free of charge to expound the merits of his 
system. When the submarine telegraph cable was laid across the Atlantic, 
Cyrus Field's classic comment after reception of the first telegraphic message 
was: "Matthew Maury furnished the brains, England the money and I did 
the work." 

When Maury became a commodore in the Virginia Navy during the 
War between the States, he was assigned the giant task of safeguarding the 
coast, harbor and river defense of the South. His genius helped convert the 
Merriniac into an ironclad ship whose battle with the Monitor is a special 
story of American accomplishment. He endangered his own life by sailing 
to England to gather information on torpedo defense. But when he discovered 
the use of electrical power for exploding marine torpedoes, the Confederacy 
had already fallen. An alien in his own land, he went to Mexico and there 
was appointed Director of the Imperial Observatory. There, too, the Gov- 
ernment with which he worked was overthrown, whereupon Maury went to 




England and started a school in which French, Norwegian and Danish officers 
learned from this Virginian the theories and practices of using electricity for 
submarine torpedo detonations. When finally he returned to America in 
1868, he became professor of physics at Virginia Military Institute in Lex- 
ington, where, with General Lee, he devoted himself to education. So it was 
that Maury's major honors came from other lands, whereas in happier times 
of the nationhood of the United States he would have received similar 
honors at home. The King of Portugal conferred upon him the decoration 
of the Tower and Sword; Maximilian of Austria, a diamond pin; the King 
of Denmark, the Cross of the Order of Dannebrog; the Government of 
France, the decoration of the office of commander of the Legion of Honor; 
and the Czar of Russia, the decoration of knighthood in the Order of St. Anne. 
After his death the Czar presented a pearl and diamond brooch to Mrs. 
Maury in memory of her distinguished husband. 

Another exhibit at The Mariners' Museum presents the spectacle of the 
famous battle of the ironclads, in which Maury had an important role. 
S. B. Besse, former model engineer of the museum, made a careful study 
of all records concerning the two vessels, then had three models made — 
one of the steam frigate Menimac (frequently spelled Merrimack), one of 
ironclad Virginia as reconstructed from the hull of the Merriniac, and a 
third of the Ericsson-designed Monitor. The original Merrimac was built in 
the Boston Navy Yard in 1855, and her story is told elsewhere in this work. 

Many models, prints, paintings and relics of this historic harbinger of 
the American-made machine age are on display at The Mariners' Museum. 
Other subjects portrayed there include the sailing of the Savannah across 
the Atlantic by means of steam power. Leaving on May 22, 1819, it arrived 
in Liverpool, England, twenty-seven days later, and subsequently visited Russia, 
Norway and Sweden before returning to the United States late in the year. 
Splendid displays of sea photography, spurred by continent-wide competitions, 
are included in the museum's exhibits. 

Other cultural institutions established during the Great Depression in- 
cluded the Newport News Public Library, in its fine Georgian-style building 
on West Avenue, in 1929; the first Little Theater Group, in 1931; the 
Community Concert Association, organized by Mrs. L. C. Branch and others 
in 1930, and which presented its first concert, featuring Nelson Eddy, in 
1931; and the presentation of the Operatic Society's first work, in 1935. In 
1935 Mrs. Ardier M. Huntington's giant equestrian statue, "Conquering the 
Wild," was completed in The Mariners' Museum Park, overlooking the 
dam and Lake Maury, as a memorial to Col lis Potter Huntington, founder 
of the modern city of Newport News. Lake Maury itself, 167 acres in extent, 
was artificially created in 1932 by damming up the mouth of Waters Creek 


in The Mariners' Museum Park and named after the great "Pathfinder of 
the Seas." 

Another cultural institution, founded in its first form somewhat earlier, 
was the American Legion Museum, established as such in 1923 to display 
relics of World War I, but which became the War Memorial Museum of 
Virginia in 1941, when a new building was built in Huntington Park. It 
now displays relics, records and pictures of all the country's wars, including 
the best collection of posters of World Wars I and II in the United States. 
In 1954 the size of the building was doubled. The museum is operated by the 
City of Newport News under the direction of thirty-three trustees. 

In 1932, following the opening of a new golf course at the James River 
Country Club, a Golf Museum was established as provided for by Archer M. 
Huntington. Exhibits were installed as made up from collections of John 
C. Campbell. A special wing of the Country Club was devoted to this museum. 

Through the remaining 1930s shipbuilding remained the foundation- 
stone of Newport News industry. In 1933 the Shipyard's model towing 
basin and Hydraulic Laboratory were set up in Warwick, opposite the build- 
ings of The Mariners' Museum. It was on February 25 of that same year 
that the Shipyard launched the U.S.S. Ranger (CV-4), the first aircraft carrier 
so designed from the keel up, and so initiated a long and famous line of 
naval vessels of this type. 

Disaster also struck in that year. A violent hurricane on August 23, 
1933, caused $3,000,000 damage. Newport News counted as a local tragedy, 
too, the burning on September 8, 1934, of the Ward Line's steamship iWorro 
Castle, built by the Shipyard here in 1930. This horrible fire ushered in the 
era of complete fireproof construction of ships built here and elsewhere. In 
the following year, on November 8, 1934, the Chesapeake and Ohio grain 
elevator "B" was totally destroyed in one of the city's most spectacular fires. 

By 1939 a new World War had started, and even before it started the 
event seemed imminent. Business increased again by leaps and bounds, as did 
the influx of population, with the result that huge defense housing develop- 
ments were planned to meet the need. Ferguson Park consisted of 1,200 units 
on a tract near the James River Bridge entrance. Copeland Park had 3,195 
units, and Newsome Park in the East End had 1,591 units. Copeland Park 
was later, in the 1950s, redeveloped by the Newport News-Hampton munici- 
palities as a protected industrial site of 800 acres. Of this expanse, 340 acres 
were cleared, graded and made available for subdivision to suit space require- 
ments, and the remainder was planned for housing relocation. This park 
area is adjacent to spur tracks of the Chesapeake and Ohio and a stone's 
throw from world-wide shipping facilities of Hampton Roads, as well as 
leading highways and airlines. 

For Newport News the 1940s were a story of war and readjustment to 



the armed peace that followed. Before the United States was yet involved in 
World War II, the Shipyard completed and delivered the United States Lines 
passenger steamship America, a 723-foot flagship of the Merchant Marine 

fssiji*-. "i:T:-""~<5:?(r«!ar"."^t.'»s5^^.i3^'i;;;-: " 

(Courtesy Vj. Penhistila Ass'ii of Commerce) 

and at that time, in 1940, the largest and finest ship constructed by an 
American shipyard. Shortly after the launching of that great ship, the Hunt- 
ington family disposed of its interests in the Newport News Shipbuilding and 
Dry Dock Company, which was reorganized as a stock company with se- 
curities listed on the New York Stock Exchange. On February 3, 1941, the 
North Carolina Shipbuilding Company was organized as a subsidiary, with 


key officers provided by the local company. The plant erected on the Cape 
Fear River, below Wilmington, North Carolina, built a total of 243 emer- 
gency ships, beginning with the famous Liberty ships, through the years of 
World War II. 

As the trend of events was becoming clearer with each passing week, 
despite all hopes to the contrary, the Huntington Rifles, a National Guard 
unit, was mobilized for service with the Army. At the same time Newport 
News industries were performing ever greater and greater feats of inven- 
tiveness and constructive genius. The Newport News Shipyard turned out 
fifteen of the eighteen turbine units, the most powerful hydro-electric units 
ever built, used to produce the Grand Coulee Dam power enterprise on the 
Columbia River for the Department of the Interior, which first produced 
power in March, 1941. 

Not long after the United States Army had resumed jurisdiction over 
Fort Eustis in 1941, Newport News was shocked by the attack on Pearl 
Harbor on December 7. The battleship Pennsylvania, originally built here, 
was damaged in dry dock, but subsequently was repaired to take an im- 
portant role in World War 11. By April 18, 1942, Hampton Roads was 
reactivated for war to such a degree that the aircraft carrier Hornet, built 
in Newport News, launched Jimmy Doolittle's sixteen planes for their historic 
surprise bombing of Tokyo. 

Newport News was by this time once more a busy Port of Embarkation, 
now connected directly by railroad with the 1,700-acre Camp Patrick Henry, 
used as a port staging area. The Army had its headquarters at Newport 
News, where "The Fightingest Ship," the aircraft carrier Essex, was launched 
July 31, 1942 — first of fourteen ships of her class, all of them built here, 
which were organized into a fast carrier task force that helped bring the 
war in the Pacific to a successful conclusion. On June 3, 1943, the Forty-fifth 
Division left the port for North Africa to prepare for "Operation Husky," 
as the assault on Sicily was called. 

Meanwhile, as Newport News grew overnight from a city of 37,000 
people to one of 100,000 for its wartime activity, the people were forced 
to suflfer the hardships and scarcities of a distorted economy. In the interests 
of the general cause, these privations were accepted cheerfully, while 30,000 
persons carried on their wartime work in the Shipyard alone, 1,600 of them 
women. On October 4, 1943, the Shipyard launched the aircraft carrier 
Fratikl/n. nicknamed B/g Ben, which on March 19, 1943, suffered heavily in 
Japanese bombing during the battle of Leyte Gulf, but survived after having 
become a raging inferno and returned later to New York by her own power. 

The Port of Embarkation at Newport News handled a total of 1,687,000 
persons during World War II — embarkees, debarkees and prisoners-of-war. 
When V-J Day came, on September 2, 1945, terminating the war, the business 














of deactivating the city as an embarkation center began. By January 15, 1946, 
the rail and dock facilities, which had been federalized, were returned to 
the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Then, on February 1, Fort Eustis was 
taken over by the Chief of Transportation, and was established as an Army 
Service Force Training Center. Four years later, on August 21, 1950, it 
became the Transportation Training Command Center. Temporary construc- 
tion was replaced with permanent facilities. It was also in February that the 
United States Navy transport IJ^ej/ Point, into which the Anieiica had been 
converted for wartime service, arrived in New York after fourteen round-the- 
world voyages, then returned to Newport News for reconversion into her 
former status as a passenger liner. 

Among its other official acts, the Newport News City Council authorized 
the preparation of an official history of the community in World War II — a 
history of industrial achievement and personal sacrifice, but one which was 
perhaps best expressed in the remembrance of those who did not return from 
the course of duty — more than 100 names of Newport News service men 
who had made the supreme sacrifice for their country and their cause: 

Abrams, Grover Alvin, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Grover Abrams 

(Also Northampton County) 
Adams, Frank Logan, S/Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Adell Dozier Adams, Thom- 
son, Georgia 
Adams, Granville L., Jr., S/Sgt., A. Father, G. L. Adams 
Ball, Ralph E., Flc, N. 

Becker, Sidney S., Lt., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Becker 
Binder, William Hickey, Pvt., M. Mother, Mrs. Rose Binder 
Blanchard, Arthur E., Jr., Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Henrietta Blanchard 
Bridgers, Lewis McMath, Ens., N. Mother, Mrs. Henry E. Bridgers, Chicago, 

Britt, Oscar W., T/4, A. Mother, Mrs. Sue C. Britt 
Brown, Jesse Garrett, Pfc, M. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Paul E. Brown 
Campbell, Lawrence M. {See Hampton City) 
Carney, Frank H., StM2c, N. Wife, Mrs. Rosetta Carney 
Carter, Howard Moss, Lt(jg), N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Carter, 

Rainelle, West Virginia 
Chandler, Lawrence H., Jr., 2nd Lt., A. Mother, Mrs. Ada G. C. Chandler 
Collins, David Harrison, Lt(jg), N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Broaddus Lee 

Craft, Hubert A., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Mima P. Craft 
Cunningham, Edwin Harvie, III, MoMMlc, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. 

Edwin Harvie Cunningham, Jr. 
Dancy, Arthur W., T/5, A. Wife, Mrs. Geraldine Dancy 


Davis, William F., Pvt., A. Aunt, Mrs. Florence Ricker 
Easton, Robert Lee, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Myrtle Boardman Easton 
Edwards, Joseph C, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Florence D. Edwards 
Ehmig, Herman Anton, Jr. (See Richmond City) 
Eldridge, James H., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Ethel B. Eldridge 

(Also Loudoun County) 
Fallen, Robert F., N. 
Fissel, John E., Capt., A. 

Flanders, Robert Evans, CFC, N. Wife, Mrs. Vivian Ward Flanders 
Foresman, Edward Vincent, Sgt., M. Mother, Mrs. A. K. Hammond 
FULCHER, John E., Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Fulcher 
Garner, Selwyn C, ARM3c, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley S. Garner 
GoLBERDiNG, Daniel Anthony, 2nd Lt., A. Mother, Mrs. Ruth Golberding 

(Also Hampton City) 
Goodman, Claude Layton, Lt. Comdr., N. Mother, Mrs. Mabel H. Good- 
Gross, Adolph R., SF2c, N. Mother, Mrs. Edward Duncan, Baltimore, 

Hall, Cecil R., Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Elizabeth T. Hall 

(Also Gloucester County) 
Hammersten, Henry L., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Maxine Hammersten 
Harrington, Henry M., Ens. 

Harris, Carson Moss, AS, N. Mother, Mrs. Gaye Simmons Harris 
Hassell, Thomas Tillman, Lt. Comdr., N.(Ret.). Wife, Mrs. Dorothy 

Gayle Hassell 
Hicks, George S., N. 

HiDEN, Philip Wallace, 2nd Lt., A. Mother, Mrs. Martha W. Hiden 
Hinson, Daniel Webster, MM2c., N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Curry Graham 

Hite, Robie Columbus, Jr., N. Mother, Mrs. Kate West Hite 

(Also Dinwiddle County) 
HoHL, Harry W., Jr., 1st Lt., A. 
HuDGiNS, Wendell Rhodes, S2c, N. Wife, Mrs. Virginia Lloyd Hudgins 

(Also Mathews County) 
Humenik, John, Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Frances J. Humenik 
Jones, Hoyle L., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Daisy B. Jones 
Langston, Raymond J., Pvt., A. Daughter, Miss Alice P. Langston 
Leffell, Hlybert, Cpl., M. Mother, Mrs. Cora L. Leffell 
McGhee, Roy Eugene, S/Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Elizabeth S. McGhee 

(Also Henry County) 
McGiNNis, H. C, Lt, A. 
Machado, Tarcisio B., T/Sgt., A. 


Marshall, Walter Johnson, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Mary Damewood 

Melamed, Isaac, Cpl., A. 
Meyer, Carl Heinz, Pvt., M. Mother, Mrs. Use A. Meyer 

(Also Warwick County) 
Mitchell, George Willard, N. 

Morse, Francis Jerome, BMIc, N. Mother, Mrs. May Morse 
Morse, Norman Roi, WT2c, N. Mother, Mrs. May Morse 
Murray, James Francis, Pfc, A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph J. Murray 
Murray, Philip Wilhelm, Jr., T/5, A. Mother, Mrs. Ethel Murray 
Nelms, Thomas E., Pvt., M. Father, James T. Nelms, Jr. 
Newbern, John C, Jr., Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Marie A. Newbern 
Ogden, William S., MM2c, N. Mother, Mrs. L. Ogden Keffer 
O'Malley, Charles W., Sr., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Opal M. O'Malley 
Palmer, James Dickerson, Lt(jg), N. Brother, Maj. John W. Palmer 
Patterson, James Lindsay, Jr., Mess, N. Mother, Mrs. Betty Carney 
Person, Joe Herman, S2c, N. Mrs. Ethel Person 
PiCKRELL, John Allen, Jr., N. 

Powell, Walter Henry, Capt., A. Father, Walter M. Powell 
Privette, Davis F., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Willie E. Privette 
Proctor, Roland Oliver, MM2c, N. Mother, Mrs. Ruby Oliver Proctor 
Quintal, George D., Pvt., M. Wife, Mrs. George D. Quintal 
Ramsay, Alexander W., PhM3c, N. 
Reynolds, Jesse F., Pfc, A. 
Riddle, Carl Michael, Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Ina V. Scrogham Riddle 

(Also Augusta County) 
Schmidt, John Mathew, Sic, N. Wife, Mrs. Pearl Mary Schmidt 
Shaw, Omer Lee, WT2c, N. Wife, Mrs. Corinne Margaret Shaw 
Sherrill, James E., S/Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Josephine M. Sherrill 
SiCELOFF, Robert N., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Irene H. Siceloff 
Sigler, V. E., Lt., A. 

Slaughter, Jesse H., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Ruth M. Slaughter 
Smick, Robert Carey, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Anna Marie Smick, Baltimore, 

Smith, Charles Norman, CMM, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Nor- 
man Smith 
Smith, Herbert G., Jr., 1st Lt., M. Parents, Judge and Mrs. Herbert G. 

Smith, Reginald V., FO, A. Father, Dempsey P. Smith 
Stokes, Frank L., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Josephine Stokes 
Strange, Alton Ernest, Sic, N. Mother, Mrs. Emma J. Strange 


Tench, Robert Henry, Pvt., A. Father, Charles L. Tench 
Theiss, Charles Henry, Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Gladys P. Theiss 
TowNSEND, Verne, Jr., Cpl., M. 

Tucker, Earl Martin, StMlc, N. Mother, Mrs. Lillie Tucker 
TwiLLEY, James C, Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Lola TwiUey 
Vaden, Robert Lee, Pfc, A. 
Venable, Hoge Cralle, Jr. (See Hampton City) 

ViCK, Stancil Wylie, MMlc, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Elbert Vick 
Vincent, Sydney Archibald, Jr., Capt., A. Mother, Mrs. Gladys Cowen 

(Also York County) 
Ward, Karl H., Pvt., A. 

Watkins, Austin F., Jr., 2nd Lt., A. Mother, Mrs. Phyllis M. Watkins 
Watkins, Eugene Keith, 1st Lt., A. Sister, Mrs. Don R. Fischer 
Watson, J. B., Jr., Pfc, M. Mother, Mrs. Nettie Watson 
Weaver, John B., Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. R. B. Weaver 
West, Thomas Spotswood, Pvt., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Caleb D. West 
Weston, Bruce S., T/5, A. 
WiNSTEAD, Arthur M., A. 

WooDFiN, Philip T., Capt., C. Wife, Mrs. Frances Woodfin 
Woodward, Woodson W., 2nd Lt., A. Wife, Mrs. Virginia L. Woodward 
Wright, Thomas W., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Virginia L. Wright 

Although the return of peace brought a notable decline in population, 
Newport News retained some of its wartime industrial advances. On the 
occasion of its golden anniversary in 1946, the city held appropriate cere- 
monies, including many parades and pageants, and published a commemora- 
tive volume, Neivport News' 325 Years, pieced together from newspaper 
and magazine stories as written when the events were new and fresh. 

Growth was not at an end, nor even a standstill, as was indicated by the 
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway's construction of a new $5,200,000 coal pier. 
On April 18, 1949, the keel of the supercarrier United States was laid at 
Newport News, but eight days later the construction contract was cancelled 
by Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson. But in February, 1950, the building 
of the steamship United States began. In June, 1951, it was launched — the 
finest and fastest ship ever built in America. This ship crossed the ocean to 
Europe in 3 days, 10 hours and 40 minutes, and returned to New York on 
July 15, 1952, after a westbound voyage of 3 days, 12 hours and 12 minutes. 
Her average speed was 34 knots. 

On July 14, 1951, the keel of the giant carrier Forrestal was laid at the 
yards of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, which 
was awarded millions of dollars' worth of Government contracts in the in- 

Va. 2—16 



terests of preparedness for an uncertain future. The Forrestal was the first 
of the Navy's thousand-foot supercarriers. It was launched on December 11, 
1954. In 1953 the Atomic Energy Commission announced that the Shipyard 
at Newport News was taking an important part in the Government's atomic- 
powered ships program. The keel of the first atomic-powered aircraft carrier, 
the Enterprise, was actually laid at the Shipyard on February 4, 1958. 

(Courtesy Va. Peninsula Ass'n of Commerce) 

In the period following World War II many community improvements 
were efi^ected, one of the most noteworthy having been the replacement of 
the Peninsula electric street railway cars by buses in 1946 and the subsequent 
removal of all trolley tracks. As early as April 1, 1945, the Citizens' Rapid 
Transit Company had been organized to take over local trolley and bus 
services for this purpose. The new building of the Whitaker Memorial 
Hospital for Negroes — a project dating back to 1912 — was actually com- 
pleted before the end of the war. Its dedication was an event of 1943. On 
March 26, 1945, the Newport News Public Safety Building, housing police 
offices and jail, was first occupied. The year 1946 brought into being two 
large municipal swimming pools. On February 1, 1947, the Naval Reserve 
Armory was dedicated at Essex Street and Warwick Road, and in that same 
year the Peninsula Airport Commission acquired a 924-acre tract at Camp 


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Patrick Henry for use as a site for the proposed Peninsula Airport. Service 
at Patrick Henry Airport was started November 13, 1949, by Capital and 
Piedmont Airlines with DC-3 planes. 

Also in 1947 the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway gained permission to 
build a new $5,200,000 coal pier, and on May 27, 1955, the railway's 
$8,000,000 ore pier No. 9, with a length of 711 feet, was commenced. In 
March, 1953, the railroad was completely diesalized. On May 2, 1957, came 
the city's great pageant of the landing of Captain Christopher Newport as 
a part of the 350th Anniversary observances of the founding of Virginia. 
At that time Christopher Newport Park was dedicated, and a large mural 
painting by Allan Jones, Jr., was unveiled in the Newport News Public 
Library, depicting the original landing. The story of civic improvement 
would not be complete without mention of the last crossing of Hampton 
Roads by ferryboat on November 1, 1957, as the new Hampton Roads 
Bridge-Tunnel connecting Old Point Comfort and Willoughby Spit took its 

Perhaps the greatest improvement of all was not the formal erection of 
any building or industry, but the development of the Greater City of New- 
port News, which was long in the making but was definitely achieved in the 
summer of 1958. As early as January 1, 1945, Warwick County had adopted 
a county manager government and moved its headquarters from Lee Hall to 
Hilton Village, where both government and business buildings were erected. 
On July 16, 1952, Warwick County became a first-class city, with a popula- 
tion of 52,000. Talk had long been under way as to possible municipal 
mergers, greatest opposition coming from Hampton, which twice voted against 
consolidation, first in 1950 and again in 1956. 

In May and June, 1955, citizens' committees were formed to explore the 
possibility of a three-way consolidation of cities embracing Newport News, 
Warwick and Hampton. The Tri-City Consolidation Bill actually won ap- 
proval in the Virginia General Assembly on March 10, 1956, but Norfolk 
interests prevented approval of the popular name "City of Hampton Roads." 
A further rebuff to the three-way merger came when, on November 6, 1956, 
Hampton defeated the plan at the polls. Undaunted by that reversal, New- 
port News and Warwick prepared for a new poll which would leave Hampton 
out of the picture, and on July 16, 1957, they approved the formation of a 
single city along the James and extending to the river's mouth. In Newport 
News the vote was 4,398 to 873 for the merger; in Warwick, 3,939 to 3,253 
in favor of it. On September 10, 1957, the voters elected that the name of the 
new and enlarged city should be Newport News. On March 3, 1958, Gov- 
ernor Almond signed the bill providing the new city charter. It was on 
July 1, 1958, that the expanded city became an actuality — a city of 64 square 
miles in area, third largest in Virginia, with a population of 120,418. The 




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present city of Newport News takes in the area of the former County of 
Warwick, just as the present city of Hampton covers all of the former County 
of Elizabeth City. 

Greater Newport News is more than a political expedient. It is a 
reality. Many local citizens now live in the former Warwick area and in 
Hampton, but commute to employment in the area originally known as New- 
port News. Utilities and industries serve the entire Peninsula in many 
instances from a common source, and all groups on the Peninsula together 
render world-wide commercial and business services. Newport News, includ- 
ing Warwick, is served by a number of fine banking institutions, among them 
the Bank of Hampton Roads, the Bank of Virginia, the Citizens Marine 
Jefferson Bank, the Crown Savings Bank, the First National Bank, the Bank 
of Warwick and the Warwick National Bank. An active factor in merger 
plans was the Negro problem as the ratio of this racial group moved up to 
50 per cent of total population. But no actual evidence existed that the 
Negroes wished to take advantage of the shifting weight of population. 
Two of them actually served on the committee for consolidation, and others 
were leaders in the movement, although the ratio of their numbers with 
respect to the total population of the new city was only 35 per cent. AH 
citizens together wished to see and help create an actual Greater City of 
Newport News, and took part together in the common ei?ort. Today the 
Newport News Waterworks Commission system supplies filtered and chlor- 
inated surface water to Hampton and part of the Navy Mine Depot as well 
as to the entire Newport News-Warwick area. Sewage is in charge of a 
common Hampton Roads Sanitation District. A Peninsula Industrial Com- 
mittee and a Hampton-Warwick Regional Redevelopment and Housing Au- 
thority are further examples of a common Peninsula-wide cooperation. 

And, of course, cultural life extends beyond all boundaries of a geo- 
graphical nature, as is evidenced by a broad interchange in the religious 
sphere. Probably church life in the Newport News area was actually started 
by the Negroes in 1864. They erected a frame building in what corresponds 
to the 400 block in Twenty-eighth Street and named it the First Baptist 
Church of Newport News. The railroad now runs directly through this old 
site. They had a Sunday school in operation in 1867 there. In 1881, when 
many other church activities began to be in evidence, this same Negro con- 
gregation was worshipping at 2300 Jefferson Avenue, and by 1897 their 
church had moved to the 600 block of Twenty-fourth Street, although de- 
terioration led to its being torn down some years ago. 

The first white services on record were conducted March 15, 1881, by 
the Rev. Charles J. S. Mayo, an Episcopal minister, in an unfinished frame 
dormitory for Negro laborers on the railway roadbed, according to George 
C. Mason's "History of St. Paul's Church" in the Newport News Daily Press. 


All denominations were included in those first services, and the same group 
afterward used boarding houses and warehouses before the Old Dominion 
Land Company remedied the situation. As early as March, 1881, the com- 
pany took steps to build a "union chapel," which was to be non-denomina- 
tional and for use by all creeds. By 1882 the chapel was in operation, and 
was actually serving to help several individual congregations of different 
faiths to make their own independent start. 

The Baptists withdrew in 1883, and had their own separate church in 
1884. By 1890 there were four independent churches. The original "union 
chapel" went to the Presbyterians in 1891. In 1893 the actual Union Chapel 
moved to a point just east of West Avenue on Twenty-seventh Street, 
eventually becoming a Sunday school annex to Trinity Lutheran Church. 
The Catholics were on their own from the beginning, meeting in homes 
at first and afterward founding St. Vincent's Church. They gained their 
start in 1881, too, with a mission of the Star of the Sea Church at Old 
Point Comfort, of which the Rev. Richard A. Drake was the first pastor. 
He commuted from Norfolk to serve here in the summer of 1890, and was 
succeeded in 1891 by the first resident pastor, the Rev. Charles E. Donahoe, 
who directed the new church building at Washington Avenue near Thirty- 
fourth Street. 

References on Chapter XXVI 

Newport News, Virginia, announcement by Virginia Peninsula Association of Commerce, Newport 
News, Va., April, 1958. 

Newport News' 325 Years, a Collection of Historical Articles edited by Alexander Crosby Brown, 
published by the Newport News Goldea Anniversary Corporation incident to the Observance of the 
Fiftieth Anniversary of the Chartering of the City, October 13-18, 1946, Newport News, Va., 1946. 

The Daily Press, Newport News, Va.. Sunday morning, June 29, 1958, anniversary edition. 

The Life and Adventures of Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury, souvenir booklet issued by 

The Commodore Maury, Norfolk, Va. 

The Washington Daily News, Washington, D. C, Monday, March 3. 1958, "Tidewater Virginia 

Clipping file, Norfolk Public Library. 

Chapter XXVII 
Warrosquyoake Shire 


Isle of Wight County 


By Floyd McKnigbt 

THE THIRD OF the eight original shires of 1634 (and last to be 
mentioned in these pages) was that of Warrosquyoake, which later 
abandoned its Indian name to be known as Isle of Wight after the 
appellation of an early plantation within its borders. Of all the Indian names 
in our area, this one seemed to give the Colonists most trouble, and its 
variants in original contemporary records are legion. It appeared as "Oriskeyek" 
on the Tindall map of 1608, and as "Warrascoyack" on John Smith's chart 
of 1612; the latter spelling may have been most nearly accurate but the 
form which we use in our title — while not possibly in most frequent usage — 
seems to be nowadays the most usually accepted. 

The original boundaries of this county extended on the northwest to what 
was called at that time Lawne's Creek; on the northeast, on the James River as 
far as the plantation of Richard Hayes, formerly John Howard's; on the 
southeast to a series of creeks extending to the head of Pitt's Creek; and on 
the southwest, into the woods indefinitely. Since that time the boundaries 
have, of course, become much more definitely fixed. 

In an earlier chapter we told of Capt. Christopher Lawne's Plantation 
here (1619), one of those represented in the first Assembly; of its early 
(1620) name change to Isle of Wight; of Bennett's Plantation and Basse's 
Choice and the Massacre of 1622; of the Fort here in 1623; of the first 
plantation parish existing before 1629, and the first Brick Church of 1632; 
and of the first monthly courts held here, also in 1632. We also gave our 
reasons for believing that Warrosquyoake was within the bounds of the 
original Corporation of Elizabeth City, although all authorities do not 
agree on that point. 

One of Captain Christopher Lawne's early associates was Sir Richard 
Worsley, who came to Virginia in 1608 from the Isle of Wight, England. 
It is probable that the place of origin of Sir Richard and of others of the 
early settlers in the British Isle of Wight had much to do with the naming 


of the plantation in Virginia. Some of those earhest emigrants from England 
came from Bristol aboard the "Bristol ships," famous in the commerce of 
their day. Lawne and Worsley, who were knight bannerets, had several as- 
sociates, including Nathaniel Basse, Gentleman; John Hobson, Gentleman; 
and Anthony Olevan, Richard Wiseman, Robert Newland, Robert Gyner 
and William Willis. These leaders appeared in Jamestown on April 27, 
1619, with a hundred settlers, and soon afterward took up their residence 
near the mouth of the creek which became Lawne's Creek, mentioned above, 
on the south side of the James River. This same creek, at first the common 
boundary with James City County, in 1652 became the dividing line between 
Isle of Wight and Surry Counties, when the latter was carved from James 
City. Captain Lawne was very active in the affairs of the new settlement, but 
lived only about a year after taking up his residence here. There was, in fact, 
a high mortality rate among those settlers, with the result that others had 
to become active to make up the deficiency caused by the deaths of these 
early leaders. A ruling governing the replacement of deceased heads of local 
affairs had to be made by the London Company, which was responsible for 
the dispatching of many of these early settlers to America, and this ruling 
was made on November 30, 1620. It was probably as a result of these early 
changes that in Warrosquyoake personal sympathies and antipathies gave 
way to an objective view which made it easier to adopt the new name of 
Isle of Wight. The name of Isle of Wight Plantation was actually in use 
at a very early stage, and the designation of Isle of Wight County was 
adopted in 1637, three years after the county was founded. 

Warrosquyoake Creek, along which lay the plantation known as "Basse's 
Choice," belonging to Captain Nathaniel Basse, later became known as the 
Pagan River, so called because of the unconverted state of the natives. 

It was in 1634 that the Colony of Virginia was divided into shires, of 
which there were eight. As previously noted, these shires were governed by 
sheriffs, sergeants, bailiffs and other officers following the general pattern 
of the English political system for counties, these different public officials 
being elected at general elections. This particular area was at that time 
established as Warrosquyoake Shire or County, which was then much larger 
than the present county of Isle of Wight, being bounded on the northwest 
by the original shire of James City, on the south by the North Carolina line, 
and on the southeast by Upper Norfolk or Nansemond County. The north- 
eastern boundary of the Shire of Warrosquyoake was, naturally, the James 

The first parish on record in Isle of Wight County, then Warrosquyoake 
County, was organized in 1629. In 1634, when the County of Warrosquyoake 
was officially created, the parish was coterminous with the county itself, 
and so remained for several years. 


As more settlers came into the area, both the county and the parish were 
subdivided lengthwise, forming two parishes, known as Upper Parish and 
Lower Parish in the early stages of the division, and later as Warrosquyoake 
Parish and Newport Parish. The boundary line between the two parishes was 
given at that time as Pagan Creek which was called Pagan Point Creek. This 
name derived from the marshy point just north of the inner mouth of this 
creek, which emptied into Warrosquyoake Bay, often called the Lower Bay 
as distinct from the present Burwell's Bay, farther up the James River shore. 

Although the building of the early churches in Isle of Wight County, 
which was adopted as the official name in 1637, is to a large degree shrouded 
in a mystery created by lack of adequate records, there is no question that 
church building was generally encouraged through the Established Church. 
For instance, an Act of February 1631/2, provided that "in all such places 
where any churches are wanting or decayed, the Inhabitants are tyed [tithed] 
to contribute towards the building of a church — the Commissioners together 
with the Mynisters, Church Wardens and Chiefe of the parish to appoynt both 
the most convenient place . . . and also to hire . . . any workeman and order 
such necessaries as are requisite. This they are to effect before Christmas or 
else the sayd commissioners are to forfeit 50 [£50] in money." 

One thing is certain — and that is the uncertainty of the establishment of 
the early churches in Isle of Wight County, about which many arguments 
have arisen among learned authorities who are interested in early church 
development in Virginia. Differences of as much as fifty years are still the 
subject of extensive disagreements and divisions of opinion. Of course, there 
are many reasons for these difficulties, chiefly among which is the inadequacy 
of existing records, many of the original documents having long since been 
lost or destroyed in the course of wars, fires and the ravages of time. Besides, 
these early churches were frequently rebuilt, sometimes within a fairly 
short period of years after the erection of the original edifice, with the result 
that references in the old records are sometimes of an enigmatic character, 
it being a matter of great doubt whether a specific record on occasion refers 
to an earlier or later version of a church, perhaps built on the same location 
and bearing the same name as an unknown predecessor. 

Of course, the most famous church in the entire area — indeed, one of the 
outstanding colonial churches in the United States — is the Old Brick Church, 
outside of Smithfield. Although the date of its original construction is cus- 
tomarily placed at 1632, a controversy surrounds even this historic fact, some 
scholars claiming 1682 as a much more likely date.* 

Early law and custom required the establishment of a glebe farm, and 
one was accordingly created two miles west of Smithfield. The ministers who 

* See Note 46, Chapter IV, supra. 



resided there are no longer on record, except the last of them, a Rev. Mr. 
Hubbard, who died in 1802 and was buried there. With the onset of revo- 
lutionary ideas, including all manner of opposition to the Established Church 
as a defender of an older political faith as well as a religious one, this 
property came into control of the county organization and was renamed the 
"Poor House." The indigent poor lived here under the care of a county 
board styled Overseers of the Poor. 

Ik ^^ 

I Jesse J. Scott Photo) 

The inconvenience of handling public affairs in a county divided by 
water — Pagan Creek — led to the erection of two court houses in 1654. The 
General Assembly ordered "that on account of the inconvenience occasioned 
by the partition of Isle of Wight County by Pagan Creek, there should be 
held a mo. Court in each of the 2 parishes, successively, and that the com- 
missioners shall select the places." The site of court sessions in Lower 
Parish is not known; and in any event, the act was repealed in 1659- The 
division into two parishes had already come in 1643. Ferries provided the 
means of travel across Pagan Creek and its tributaries and branches. Origi- 
nally in charge of the county commissioners, these ferry lines were taken out 
of their control and managed for a time by the General Assembly. From 
1650 they were in the hands of the County Court. The ferries continued to 
furnish the major portion of water transportation within Isle of Wight 
County until 1750, when a system of bridges took their place. The bridges 
were privately owned and constructed, and tolls were charged for their 


maintenance. Only later were they rented to the county, after which transfer 
only non-residents were required to pay tolls. In 1891 the bridges were sold 
outright to the county, and all tolls were abolished. 

In 1750 the Court House of Isle of Wight County was definitely moved 
to Smithfield, and at that time three brick buildings were erected — a Court 

e J. Scotl Photo) 


House, a Clerk's Office and a Jail. All were located at Main and Pierce 
streets. In 1800 Major Francis Boykin, one of the county's distinguished 
citizens in his day, donated land for a new Court House, and actually erected 
some of the original buildings at his own expense. Public documents were 
for a brief period housed in a frame building, which earlier had been part 
of an old tavern. Afterward they were housed in a brick building, which was 
enlarged in 1822 and which still served as the Clerk's Office after the be- 
ginning of the twentieth century. A modern fireproof vault was installed to 
keep the records in 1892. 


Tarleton's raid during the Revolutionary War had as one of its aims 
the capture or destruction of county papers at Smithfield, but the deputy 
clerk's wife, Mrs. Francis Young, had moved them for safe keeping while 
her husband was away from home, serving as an officer in the army. The 
"hair trunk" in which she hid them and buried them for safe keeping long 
remained a family heirloom after the Revolution. The records of Isle of 
Wight County, as a result of her patriotism and intelligence, remained under 
ground until after the surrender at Yorktown. During their interment they 
were slightly damaged by worms, but not irretrievably so. 

In early times court, church and glebe were closely connected — a con- 
nection which only slowly vanished with changing times. When the separate 
courts for the two parts of the county were abandoned in 1659, separate 
parishes continued to exist. A church is mentioned in Lower Parish as early 
as 1638, but whether it was Old Brick Church or another seems to be a 
matter of speculation. The subsequent deed of John Vallentine, dated Janu- 
ary 9, 1667, confirms to John Marshall a tract of land already deeded 
January 13, 1638, to Marshall by Vallentine's father. The plot concerned is 
described as "100 acres lying southerly on the Creek and northerly into the 
woods . . . and soe running downewards to the head of the Creek that 
leadeth to the then Church," with some additional area bounded on "the 
deep Swamp." 

For the Upper Parish of Isle of Wight County, a church was built soon 
after the division into two parishes in 1643. No record of its construction 
has been found, however, although references to it exist in wills and other 
documents. It is mentioned, for instance, in the deed of James Day of 
London to William Webb of Isle of Wight, dated January 11, 1675, which 
referred to "the Old church yard," suggesting that the building was no longer 
there at that time. Other records hint that it was standing idle. The first 
Upper Parish Church on record seems to have been mentioned in the will 
of Robert Pitt, dated June 6, 1672, and proved one and one-half years later. 
That will bequeathed, as a gift from his deceased wife, Martha Pitt, "one 
pcell of land . . . that joyneth Uppon the north side of the land wch was 
Mr. John Sewards for the length. And the breedth towards the chch . . . 
uppon which land my Executor is to bid. one howse . . . which said land and 
howseinge is to be for the releiffe of Poore Women." 

It was also in 1672 that John Seward sold land identified as "The Levie 
Neck," because the commissioners met there to lay the levy, to William Bressie, 
a Quaker, who in 1679 gave it to the Quakers — in the terminology of the 
document sealing the transaction, to "the servts of God frequently called 
Quakers." The parcel of land involved was described as "feilds near the 
Creek side to worship and serve the liveing God in spiritt & truth, with 
ground sufficient for a Graveyard . . . bounded by four Corner Trees to be 


planted, with a free egress and regress for the sd. people through any of sd. 
Bressie's land in any path that now leads to the House." Bressie's will also 
left tobacco "towards the maintaining and upholding of the meeting House 
of the people of God called Quakers . . . being at Levy Neck & for the care 
of the Poore." 

As early as 1663 the Quakers were meeting in the house of William 
Garrett at Levy Neck. They were not sanctioned by Colonial law, however, 
and consequently were imprisoned by the authorities. The building of a 
Quaker Meeting House did not likely antedate Bressie's acquisition of the 
"Levy Neck" site in 1672. George Fox, leader of the Quaker movement, 
did not visit the area until that year — a fact which supports this con- 

Court house and church were connected even in the case of the unwanted 
Quakers. The early Isle of Wight County Court House is believed to have 
stood on the south bank of the present Mount Holly Creek, a mile west of 
Smithfield. In 1736, when settlers complained of the inconvenience of court 
facilities and a new Court House was built on the north side of the present 
Blackwater Bridge, four and one-half miles south of Zuni, the former Court 
House was discontinued. In that same year Henry Wiggs purchased the 
abandoned Court House for use as a Quaker Meeting House. 

It is not clear exactly how the Quakers were finally ousted from the 
area. But when Isle of Wight County was divided in 1749, after which the 
Blackwater River marked the boundary with Southampton County, the new 
Isle of Wight County Court House of 1736 was left standing on the frontier 
of the older county's reduced area. A writ was obtained from Governor 
Gooch on May 11, 1749, adjourning Isle of Wight County Court "to the 
place called the Quaker Meeting House, formerly the old Court House," to 
which all county records were at the same time moved. One thing is certain: 
the Quakers did not return. And after the court took up its home in the new 
Court House in Smithfield in 1752, the old building fell into disuse. 

It was in 1734 that the parishes were perceived to be too long and were 
subdivided at the Blackwater River, the lower parts of both becoming New- 
port Parish and the upper parts Nottoway Parish. The original Lower 
Parish had already come to be called Newport Parish, and Upper Parish 
was known as Warrosquyoake Parish. The part of Isle of Wight County 
which was cut off in 1749 to start Southampton County on its career was 
thus that portion which comprised Nottoway Parish. Then, in 1762, a further 
change in parish organization took place with erection of the territory south 
of the Nottoway River as St. Luke's Parish. 

In a still earlier eighteenth century change in territorial extent, made in 
1733, Isle of Wight County ceded the area southwest of the Meherrin River, 
then within its borders, to what was at that time Brunswick County, but later 


was placed within Greensville County, formed in 1781. Southampton County 
attained its present limits in 1786, when entire southwestern tip of Nanse- 
mond County was added to Southampton. Thus, over a period of many 
decades, to suit for the most part the convenience of the populations involved, 
the so-called "southside" counties assumed their present shapes and sizes. 

At the same time parish changes generally followed political changes 
and reorganizations, as the Established Church was still in power along with 
the Established Government — the Crown of England. The border of Newport 
Parish, for instance, became coterminous with the reduced Isle of Wight 
County itself. Church names sometimes shifted with these geographical 
boundary alterations, the Upper and Newport parish churches being identified 
as "the Church" and "the Brick Church" respectively, although after 1747 
they were referred to as "the Bay Church" and "the Brick Church," then 
eventually as the Upper and Lower churches of Newport Parish. Between 
1744 and 1747 both were repaired and their yards were railed in. 

In the mid-eighteenth century the Bay Church was replaced by a large 
brick church which retained the same name. It was probably completed before 
1760, being built on the lands of General Burwell. According to Bishop 
Meade, "About the year 1810, the estate came into other hands; the Church 
was pulled down and a kitchen built of the bricks; the sides and the backs 
of the pews were used to make stalls for a stable and divisions in a barn, 
which was struck by lightning and burned down. The bell of the church 
was exchanged in Richmond for a brandy still." The remains of both Bay 
churches were still evident in recent times amid somewhat dense trees and 

Captain Hugh Campbell in 1692 gave 200 acres to support a reader for 
services for "the Inhabitants at Blackwater in Isle of Wight County," who 
though "Liveing att great Distances from any Churches or Chapels very 
Seldome have opportunity to bee att the publick worship of God." In 1724 
a chapel went up at that site, being designated first of all the Lower Chapel 
of the enlarged Newport Parish. Then, in 1744, it was replaced by a more 
suitable frame chapel, the old one being sold at public auction. The new one 
was on land that had belonged to John and Nathan Pierce, and was therefore 
called "Pierce's Chapel." The second Lower Chapel was not used after the 
Revolution, being taken over at that period by the Christian Church of the 
South after having been occupied and used by that church's missionary 
preachers for a considerable period. It was burned down in 1827, "no doubt 
by the hands of an incendiary," as reported to the Episcopal Church Con- 
vention in that year by the Rev. W. G. H. Jones, a young missionary minister, 
who claimed it as still belonging to the parish. Bishop Meade, in mentioning 
the burning of this church, called it the Isle of Wight Chapel. A new Chris- 


tian Church replaced the building in 1828. Known as the Antioch Church, 
it was afterward several times rebuilt. 

The Chapel of Upper Parish was finished in 1726 at a site now fogged 
by unclear records. It was at the outset known as the Upper Chapel of New- 
port Parish. Later it was improved and enlarged. Each parish, Newport and 
Nottoway, in 1734 had "one church and two chapels, which are very incon- 
venient, both to the ministers and the people," according to the word of the 
Statutes at Large. This church, a small building on the north side of Route 
611, three-eighths of a mile west of Nottoway Swamp and three and one-half 
miles east of Courtland, was taken over by the Methodists after the Revolu- 
tion. The Methodists still occupy this same church site. 

On William Blake's plantation, in 1731, the building of what was 
known as Outward Chapel began. It was completed in 1733, and is believed 
to be the same building as that mentioned in early Southampton County 
records under the name of Angelica Chapel, having been so renamed be- 
cause of its location on Angelica Creek. Being situated beyond the Nottoway 
River, it fell into the new St. Luke's Parish when it was split off from Notto- 
way Parish in 1762. 

Remains have been seen in recent times of a chapel at the east end of 
"Middle Seacock Bridge"- — now only a few bricks in an old sandpit. Known 
as Seacock Chapel, it was probably not built before 1700. Its location was 
along the present State Route 6l4 between Berlin and Zuni. At the time 
when it was erected, the territory beyond the Blackwater River had most 
likely not yet been opened to settlement by white people. 

In 1734 the vestry of Nottoway Parish chose a parish site which the 
parishioners found inconvenient and which was therefore an occasion of com- 
plaint. They complained early in the course of construction, but their peti- 
tions were rejected and the building went on. It is believed to have stood 
one mile southwest of Cary's Bridge over the Nottoway River on the north 
side of the road to Capron, which branches off from the old Jerusalem 
Plank Road near the present village of Sebrell. Descriptions give the loca- 
tion of this church as on the highway from Littletown Landing to Flowers's 
Church. Littletown Landing was the Nottoway River wharf near the old 
Bailey plantation of that name, adjacent to the present village of Littleton 
in the neighboring county of Sussex. The highway mentioned is believed to 
have been the one later named the Jerusalem Plank Road, now State Route 35 
between Assamoosick Swamp and the Nottoway River. The church was 
somewhat later named the Oak Grove Church, was definitely Episcopal, and 
probably was of colonial origin. It disappeared from external view long 
ago, and though the site is not even any longer clear it is believed to have 
been one-quarter mile west of the present Applewhite Methodist Church. 

Flowers' Church, or "Flowers's" Church, was probably cut off from 

Va. 2—17 


Nottoway Parish along with St. Luke's Parish in 1762, and at that time it 
became most likely the Parish Church of the new parish. 

The Nottoway vestry built a new brick church at the fork of the Notto- 
way and Blackwater rivers, only two miles to the east of Nottoway Chapel, 
and probably intended it to supersede the old chapel on Nottoway Swamp, 
although little evidence other than that of common-sense assumption con- 
firms this hypothesis. A new church on the same site, known as Oberry's 
Church, was probably completed in 1768 — according to tradition, directly 
across the road from the parish glebe — one more evidence that it was the 
parish church. After the Revolution it was abandoned, then gradually torn 
down to provide building materials for neighborhood uses. 

The origin and early history of Millfield Church, mentioned in different 
records, are not clear. It is believed to have been erected through the efforts 
of the Rev. Henry John Burges, according to Meade. It was situated at the 
head of Lightwood Swamp. Following the Revolutionary War, it was taken 
over by Baptists, probably about 1836, and in 1854 it was still standing. It was 
then replaced by a frame church on the opposite side of the road, which was in 
turn replaced by the present Millfield Baptist Church in 1902. The old colonial 
version of Millfield Church was a brick building, according to tradition, situated 
in tlie woods across the road from the present church. 

Vick's Old Church stood on the north side of the county road, about 
one and one-quarter miles east of Newsoms and five miles north of the 
North Carolina line. It was built about 1768 as a chapel of ease for St. Luke's 
Parish, as the general belief has it, on land owned by Simon Vick. Like many 
other churches of the Established faith, it fell into disuse after the Revolu- 
tionary War, and eventually the Methodists took it over. More than a half- 
century ago it was finally abandoned, and a new building replaced it in 
Newsoms. The old chapel was a frame structure with brick underpinning. 
It was probably last used as a peanut barn before its ultimate decay. The site 
of Vick's Old Church, at the summit of a little hill, is still marked by a 
grove of ancient oaks. 

A mile northeast of the present town of Sedley, now in Southampton 
County but originally in Isle of Wight, was the Old Quaker Meeting 
House of Black Creek Meeting. It was situated on the south side of what is 
now Route 611, just east of its intersection with Jericho School Road. In 
1870 a new frame meeting house was erected on the same site, and the old 
building was at the time moved one-quarter mile westward along the south 
side of the highway. There it served until 1886 as a schoolhouse, but in that 
year was torn down. The second Black Creek Meeting House was replaced 
by the present Meeting House at Sedley in 1907. 

At the eastern end of the county, standing in a neck of land between 
Brewer's Creek and Ragged Island Creek, was Terrascoe Neck Meeting 


House. In 1657 this neck of land, with the Ragged Islands, was transferred 
from Nansemond County to Isle of Wight "for the greater conveniency" of 
the people. 

The role of Isle of Wight County in Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 is, like 
many other facts of the past, unclear. But it is known that Colonel Joseph 
Bridger had to flee to Accomack, where Governor Berkeley was, for protec- 
tion. Bacon had, of course, been successful to the point of burning Jamestown 
and driving the Governor out. But when the tide turned against Bacon, 
Colonel Bridger returned to Isle of Wight and was active in punishing that 
revolutionist's adherents after Bacon himself had died. 

One exponent of Bacon's cause in this county was John Jennings, clerk 
of court. Though eventually sentenced to banishment from the colony, he 
was never actually banished, probably because he was old and broken down. 
The banishment decree was several times renewed or extended, but each 
time some reason arose for not carrying it into execution. Another Isle of 
Wight County man, John Marshall, who had participated in the rebellion, 
was made to beg pardon in court on bended knee for "scandalous words 
uttered before the commissioners." His recantation was subscribed by Ambrose 
Bennett, Richard Jordan, Richard Sharpe, Anthony Fulgham, James Bagnall, 
Edward Miller, John Davis and Richard Penny. The recantation read: 

We the subscribed, having drawn up a paper in behalf of the inhabitants 
of Isle of Wight County as to the grievances of the said county, recant all 
the false and scandalous reflection upon Governor Sir William Berkeley, 
contained in a paper presented to the commissioners and promise never to be 
guilty again of the like mutinous and rebellious practices. 

In addition to the fates of these Baconites, record also exists of one Colonel 
James Powell, of Berkeley's army, who was wounded in the knee. Three 
other royalists were John Pyland, John Hammond and Thomas Woodward. 
Isle of Wight County participated in the early attempts to establish towns 
by law. The "Act for Co-habitation" of 1680, it will be recalled, provided 
for the establishment of a town in each of the twenty then-existing counties, 
and the one for Isle of Wight was to be at "Patesfield at the parting of 
Pagan Creek." This law fell under the royal veto, but like some of the other 
towns, Patesfield got its start anyway; the Act of 1691 "for Establishing Ports 
and Markets" in one place reads as follows: "At the mouth of Pagan Creek 
formerly laid out for a Town by the name of Paitesfield and paid for and 
houses built on it." The third town law, that of 1705 "for Establishing Ports 
and Boroughs" did not include one for Isle of Wight. The Acts of 1691 and 
1705, like their predecessor, were not "assented to" by the Crown. The late 
George C. Mason said the Isle of Wight town later came to be called 


Newport Town after the parish, and that its location is marked today by 
the village of Battery Park. 

When the Revolutionary War came, Isle of Wight County bore her 
full share of responsibility. She gave written expressions of sympathy at an 
early period with the Port of Boston, long under embargo before a single 
gun was fired, and at one point sent a vessel of corn to Boston's aid. As of 
July 27, 1775, there is record of a George Purdie, a Smithfield merchant, 
who was accused of violating the orders of the Continental Association and 
was summoned to appear. Informed that he would be tarred and feathered, 
guilty or not guilty, he begged for protection. The Committee of Safety 
granted his plea, but only on condition that he would be found not guilty. 
Henry Pitt and Samuel Hunt were made managers of salt works in Isle of 
Wight and Nansemond counties in May, 1777, and Brewer Godwin was 
connected also with valuable salt stores, as was evidenced by a warrant issued 
to him by order of the Committee of Safety of Virginia on June 22, 1776. 
In November, 1776, Godwin was made sheriff of Isle of Wight County. 

Names of soldiers serving in the Revolution from Isle of Wight have 
for the most part been lost with destruction of records and the ravages of 
time. Arnold destroyed records in Richmond, and Tarleton in this county, 
although Tarleton's effort to wipe out Smithfield's records was unsuccessful. 
Some of the soldiers who served with George Washington, however, are 
known to have been Colonel Josiah Parker, Major Francis Boykin, Captain 
James Johnson, General John S. Wills, Jesse Matthews, James Casey, Edward 
Ward, Robin Turner, Samuel McCoy, John Forrest, Henry Hill, Ben ("Whale- 
bone") Jones and Moses Atkins (whose wife, Sarah, was allowed £3 annually 
during his absence). Tarleton, when raiding the county, tried to capture 
Colonel Josiah Parker, but only managed to destroy some of that gen- 
tleman's papers at his home, "Macclesfield," and to carry off slaves, cattle, 
horses and property, finally meeting reverses at Scott's Old Field (now 
Exchange) , in Nansemond County and being driven back across Milner's 
Creek by militia. 

Back in 1740 there were two tobacco warehouse locations in the county, 
one at Wainwright's and another at Warrosquyoake, and by 1742 two new 
ones were planned. Destruction of such properties during the Revolution was 
a severe blow to business operations here, but by 1783 local people petitioned 
for reestablishment of a tobacco warehouse at Warrosquyoake Bay. 

When the second war against England vv'as declared on June 11, 1811, 
several hundred Isle of Wight County citizens served the cause of the 
newly-established nation for the ensuing three years. Ten companies con- 
taining 500 enlisted men were mustered into service as the Twenty-ninth 
Regiment of Virginia Volunteers, with Joseph W. Ballard, of this county, 
as major in command. Only once was the Twenty-ninth called upon for 


action; that was when the British tried to land at the "Rocks," on the James 
River. Captains David Dick and Charles Wrenn led their companies to the 
defense, pouring effective fire into them and driving them back to their 
vessels. Although the British man-of-war Plantagenet lay off the "Rocks" 
for several months and kept the Twenty-ninth busy watching its movements, 
there was only that one attempt to land. At other times during the War of 
1812 there were few incursions within the boundaries of this county. In addi- 
tion to Captains Dick and Wrenn, mentioned above, other captains of com- 
panies of the Twenty-ninth Regiment were William B. Moody, Richard 
Bidgood, Joseph Atkinson, James Atkinson, Simon Gwaltney, Robert Jordan, 
John Lawrence and Robert Tynes. Lieutenants who were prominent included 
Robert West, Joseph Godwin, John W. Eley, Josiah HoUeman, Willis Morris, 
Exum Eley, George W. Driver and Joseph Hodsden, as well as David Dick 
and Charles Wrenn, who later were made captains. Ensigns whose names 
are still on record were Isaac Moody, Tristram Bunkley, George Wilson, 
Josiah Wrenn, Henry Applewhaite and Dawson Delk. In addition. Captain 
Hamilton Shield mustered a company of forty-eight men and put it into 
service on February 8, 1813, after which it served out its enlistment at Nor- 
folk. Peter Jones was its lieutenant and Archibald Atkinson its ensign. 

Such records show the persistence of notable family names of the area 
through the generations. In the Mexican War of 1848 the United States re- 
fused to receive most of the volunteers, and some enlisted elsewhere. James 
Davis enlisted in Captain Robert Scott's company in Richmond. Alfred H. 
Darden and Richard Parr enlisted in Mississippi in the regiment of Colonel 
Jefferson Davis, with whom they fought in several battles. Benjamin Gale 
enlisted in Captain J. P. Young's company in Portsmouth. 

In the War between the States, the universal doctrine in Virginia was 
"State Sovereignty." In a ballot in Isle of Wight County, all 861 registered 
voters were in favor of secession, although the county was practically an 
anti-slavery county. Isle of Wight had been shaken by the Southampton 
County Insurrection of 1831, a forerunner of the later slavery debate, which 
brought its abolition. County records reveal many deeds of manumission, or 
voluntary liberation of slaves, and numerous old wills had in them similar 
clauses. When war came, the first troops stationed in the county were those 
in the brigade of General John C. Pemberton, composed of Ramseur's Ar- 
tillery of North Carolina and the Third North Carolina Infantry, commanded 
by Colonel W. D. Pender. They remained for about a year until they were 
withdrawn in April, 1862. The first Federal troops to invade the county 
were of Colonel Dodge's New York regiment, which came in July, 1862, 
and penetrated as far as the Court House. There was slight action near 
Ducksville between a detachment of Southampton Cavalry and Spear's New 
York Cavalry, as a result of which a few horses were killed on both sides. 


When Dodge's cavalry followed soon afterward, they made reconnaissance 
surveys as far as a point near Carroll's Bridge. The Confederates were wor- 
shipping in a local church at the time, but came out, fought, and took 
thirty-two Federal prisoners and twenty-six horses, also killing several men. 

In January, 1864, a steamer was tired upon in the James River and the 
pilot and crew driven below deck and the vessel beached. It floated again 
with higher tide, however. The attackers, meanwhile, bore the message to 
Newport News, whereupon the gunboat Smith Briggs was immediately sent 
up the river to Smithfield with 150 men, who landed and started to make 
their way inland. They were met, however, at Scott's Factory, by Major 
Sturtevant, who had artillery and a small force of infantry and cavalry. In 
the skirmish which ensued, Lieutenant Giggett of North Carolina was 
killed. The Federal invaders retired to Smithfield to embark, but their vessel 
had gone and had not returned. Sturtevant was therefore able to attack them 
the following morning and force them to surrender as a group. While the 
fighting was under way, the Smith Briggs reappeared and attempted a rescue 
operation, but instead received a shot in her steamchest and was disabled. 
In that encounter the Confederate forces took 120 prisoners and supplies 
before the vessel was blown up. 

It was also in 1864 that the Fifteenth Massachusetts Cavalry landed at 
Burwell's Bay, proceeding a short way toward Smithfield before they were 
met by Confederate forces. Firing on that occasion was only at long range, 
however, and the attackers returned to their vessel before any casualties oc- 
curred. Actually, a large body of Signal Corps men and scouts prevented 
Isle of Wight County from worse suffering during the War between the 
States. The burning of two bridges at Smithfield formed a "cul-de-sac" which 
attackers for the most part shunned as a danger-point. 

The Spanish-American War was of brief duration, and was ended before 
many men of this county had enlisted. There was some doubt within the 
county as to the feasibility of a war on the issues involved, although a few 
joined the different commands. A. S. Johnson was a lieutenant in the Fourth 
U. S. Volunteer Infantry; George E. Morrison, a member of Company G, 
Sixth U. S. Cavalry, which took part in the battle of San Juan; and J. E. 
Tucker, O. M. Johnson, Robert Drewry, D. T. Crowley and John I. Clarke 
were in the Fourth Virginia Volunteer Infantry. 

Two world wars subsequently made their full impression upon Isle of 
Wight County, although the area was sufficiently removed from the Port of 
Embarkation and the big cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth to escape some 
of the brunt of wartime conditions and pressures. In World War II, the fol- 
lowing local men gave their lives in the service: 

Alphin, Marvin Hill, 1st Lt., A. Father, Leonard H. Alphin, Zuni 


BiLLUPS, James Robert, T/5, A. Wife, Mrs. Alice J. Billups, Windsor 
(Also Southampton County) 

Catling, Langley Tayloe, Jr., Maj., A. Wife, Mrs. Helen Gunn Gatling, 
Battery Park 

Grinnan, Daniel Thomas, Capt., A. Father, Thomas H. Grinnan, Smith- 

Harrell, Rossie, StMlc, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Harrell, CarroUton 

Haverty, Patrick H., Jr., 2nd Lt., A. Father, Patrick H. Haverty, Sr., 

Hawley, Mac Pollard, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Frances L. Blatchford Haw- 
ley, Windsor 

Holland, Richard Lee, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Anna L. Darden Holland, 

Holland, Shirley T., Jr., Lt., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Shirley T. Holland, 
Sr., Windsor 

Johnson, Donald Milby. (See Suffolk City) 

Johnson, James Henry, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Carrie Johnson, Carrsville 

McGuRiMAN, George, Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Judith A. McGuriman, Rescue 

Powell, Raymond, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Nora Powell, Benns Church 

Rhodes, Edward B., Sgt., A. 

Salvage, John Waltz, Lt., N. Wife, Mrs. Betty Carter G. Salvage, Smith- 

Turner, Franklin T., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Mary L. Cox Turner, Walters 

From the days of the old hundreds, corporations and shires, back in the 
early seventeenth century, Isle of Wight has followed the general political 
trends through many changes and vicissitudes. Since 1870 its political opera- 
tions have proceeded under a Board of Supervisors. The first Board met in 
October, 1870, the three members having been James Thomas, William A. 
Womble and Edgar Rawles, each representing a township — the townships of 
Newport, Hardy and Windsor respectively. These townships of 1870 and 
1873 are remembered today in the names of the magisterial districts. 

The 1950 census revealed a population of 14,906 in Isle of Wight County. 
The two incorporated towns within its borders, whose population figures 
are nevertheless separately recorded, are Smithfield, with a population of 
1,180, and Windsor, with 451 inhabitants. The county today has 127,000 
acres of commercial forestland, as well as forests reserved for non-commercial 
public purposes. Leading timber types are loblolly pine, Virginia pine, short- 
leaf pine, cypress and other soft woods, although there is also an abundance 
of white and red oak, gum, yellow poplar and other hard woods. The county 
produces an annual growth of 33,926,000 board feet of lumber, and has an 
annual drain of 15,624,000 board feet. 



Four railroads serve Isle of Wight County — the Seaboard Air Line, 
Norfolk and Western, Atlantic and Danville, and the Virginian. Leading 
industries and occupations are peanut raising, soybean cultivation, hog-raising, 
production of hams, bacons, sausages and lard; paper, turpentine, tall oil, 
keg staves, lumber, millwork, burnt shell lime, peanut grading and oyster 

(Courtesy Va. Peninsula Ass'n of Commerce) 


packing. Battery Park and Rescue are shipping points for water freight, as 
well as harbors for fishing boats. 

Tobacco was raised in the county throughout the colonial period, and 
levies remained payable in this commodity until 1759 — in some instances, 
even to 1783. The 1820 census showed 2,925 persons engaged in agriculture 
in Isle of Wight County. By 1850 only forty-four pounds of tobacco were 
produced here. Replacing it were corn (315,699 bushels), sweet potatoes 
(89,713 bushels) and peas and beans (31,319 bushels). County farm prop- 
erty was valued at slightly less than $1,000,000, with implements and 


machinery at $37,637. There was in 1850 a slave population of 3,395. By 
1934 cattle raising showed a 25 per cent increase in a five-year period. 

Control of the oyster industry is now in the hands of the State Commission 
of Fisheries and the State Health Commission, as are shellfish and fisheries 

References on Chapter XXVII 

Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers. 

Isle of Weight County Wills and Deeds. 

Isle of Wight County Orders. 

Hening, Statutes at Large. 

Meade, Old Churches and Families of Virginia. 

Lower Norfolk Antiquary. 

Southampton County Orders, Vol. I. 

Virginia, a Geographical and Political Summary, compiled and edited by Jedediah Hotchkiss. 

Boddie, Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight. 

Legislative Petitions, May 20, 1783. 

George Carrington Mason, "The Colonial Churches of the Isle of Wight and Southampton Counties, 

Morrison, A Brief History of Isle of Wight County, 1608-1907. 

Dorothy Hillsman Robbins, "History and Growth of Isle of Wight County." 

Chapter XXVIII 

The Town of Smithfield 


By Floyd McKnight 

THERE IS AN old legend about the method by which Pocahontas 
saved Captain John Smith. Her father, intent upon Smith's con- 
demnation, is said to have asked her why the white intruder should 
be saved. 

"Because, dear father," the beautiful princess is supposed to have replied, 
"he is the only man who knows how to cure a ham." 

The white settlers are believed by some to have learned how to cure hams 
from the Indians, who are said to have practiced this fine art upon choice 
cuts from the razorback hogs which roamed wild in the forests. These same 
white settlers of Smithfield are said then to have improved and perfected 
the art of the Indian, so that when eventually they were aided in the process, 
by use of the peanut to feed the hogs, they were able to produce vastly better 
cured hams and pork products than the Indians ever made. Captain Smith 
himself is said to have seen the Indians smoking venison in a forest to 
preserve it for the winter; and perhaps even he had so improved upon the 
process that Pocahontas held his achievement in high esteem on this account. 

In any event, whether this particular Pocahontas story be fact or legend, 
the production of what are frequently described as the world's best hams is 
centered in the peanut belt of Virginia and North Carolina. The sides, 
shoulders and jowls are cut from the carcasses of Tidewater Virginia's famous 
peanut-fed hogs, and the curing, treating, smoking and processing done in 
this region of Virginia are all of vastly superior quality. 

The interest in hogs in this section of Virginia goes back to the very 
beginning of the Colony. Hog Island is just beyond Lawne's Creek in Surry 
County, and appeared on Smith's map of 1612; it is said to have been so 
named because the settlers kept their hogs penned there. The first 'William 
Byrd of "Westover wrote a recipe for cooking hams in his Bible (c. 1674), 
and William Gooch, Lieutenant Governor from 1727 to 1749, sent hams as 
presents to the Bishop of Norwich (his brother), the Bishop of London and 
others. The Rev. James Blair — first president of the College of William and 
Mary, and Commissary of the Bishop of London — in 1729 sent his superior 


"six Virginia hams" whose value he evidently did not realize; he wrote "I 
hope such a trifle will be suffered to pass at the Custom house; for if they 
pay duty, it will be more than they are worth." An admission such as no 
Tidewater Virginian would agree to today! 

But important as hams and peanuts have since become, the economic 
basis of Smithfield a century earlier was not ham, but tobacco — a famous 
industry in this region from the very start of the colonization of Virginia 
by white men. There is said to have been a tobacco warehouse on the site 
of Smithfield 120 years before its establishment as a town. The settlement 
became an early port for the export of tobacco, which constituted one of 
the Virginia Colony's economic mainstays in the first period of its existence. 
The earliest beginnings of the tobacco trade date so far back as to defy 
identification or even reasonably accurate conjecture. A visitor of the year 
1585, named Thomas Hariot, who familiarized himself with the Virginia- 
North Carolina area of the American continent, wrote enthusiastically of 
this agricultural product, then still unknown in Europe. 

"There is an herbe," wrote Mr. Hariot, "which is sowed apart by itselfe, 
and is called by the inhabitants Appowoc . . . this Appowoc is of so precious 
estimation amongst them that they thinke theyr gods are marvelously de- 
lighted therewith." 

Such enthusiastic appraisals of this American herb seem strange, indeed, 
in a period when the same product is widely thought of in relation to its 
possible role in lung cancer, and smoking is considered by many a habit 
that were better forgotten. But there is no question that tobacco constituted 
a primary source of trade in that earliest period of Virginia history. 

The office of tobacco inspector is known to have existed from a very 
early time. When the corporations replaced the earlier political divisions 
known as hundreds, and the Virginia Company became all-powerful, one of 
the earliest Acts of the Assembly in 1619 was the provision for appointment 
of four tobacco inspectors — 1\\'0 by the Cape-Merchant, who was a repre- 
sentative of the Virginia Company, and two by the people of the Corporation. 
Throughout all phases of evolution of the Virginia Colony, including the 
numerous political forms from military dictatorship to Cromwell democracy, 
tobacco played its important and distinctive role. 

One of the districts in which tobacco was extensively raised was Isle of 
Wight County. Tax levies and tithes were payable in tobacco until at least 
1759, probably even until after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War 
in 1783. Methods of raising this highly-prized herb were a subject of great 
interest, much of which took the form of adverse criticism of the agricultural 
methods employed. One commentator is said to have written that a Vir- 
ginian never thought of "reinstating or manuring his land with economy" 


until he could "find no more new land to exhaust." This type of criticism of 
American agricultural methods persisted into the early years of the nineteenth 
century, when an Englishman named Strickland wrote of Virginia as being 
in a state of decline for this very reason. His opinions were expressed in an 
article entitled "Agriculture in America." 

Whatever is the justice of these continuing criticisms of agricultural meth- 
ods, there seems to have been some truth in the contention that the quality 
of tobacco in this entire region was not of the best. This lack of quality is 
said to have affected the entire monetary system of the region, which in 
Colonial days was based upon the value of tobacco. In those times, contracts 
were written and payments were made for work, as old records show, in terms 
of pounds of tobacco. In regions where the quality of tobacco was such 
that it did not bring a good price, people making purchases had to pay more 
pounds of tobacco for the items they were buying with this old-time cur- 
rency. Probably one-quarter of the nineteenth century had passed before a 
definite trend toward improvement set in — notably with creation of a State 
Agricultural Society, founded specifically to let planters know the seriousness 
of the problem and to seek methods of remedying it. 

The foregoing account of the development of tobacco is given at this 
juncture, not because of the present importance of tobacco as an industry 
here, but as an indication of the transitional state of Smithfield's economy. 
In more recent times, as everyone knows, the curing of hams has constituted 
Smithfield's most active and notable industry. By the early years of the nine- 
teenth century the preparation of hams had reached an advanced stage. It 
is said that corn was used as late as 1836 in Smithfield and Isle of Wight 
County mainly to feed livestock. The value of the 1850 corn crop was placed 
at $184,920. The development of the peanut, with peanut vines for a forage 
crop, did not take place until later. The commercial value of the peanut 
dates from about 1870. Of course, peanut-fed hogs are known to produce 
a much richer type of cured ham — the type of ham for which Virginia, and 
particularly the town of Smithfield, are now famous. 

The importance of Smithfield hams and Isle of Wight bacon may be 
conjectured from the fact that they were used not only locally, but were 
shipped far and wide at an early date. Evidences of the tremendous business 
that arose in these meat products are to be found throughout this region. 
Many old-time Smithfield houses are built over deep brick cellars, obviously 
adapted to the storage of lard, ham, bacon and other such staple household 
products. These items of food could sometimes be stored for long periods, 
and their treatment in curing and preparation was such as to make them 
often more valuable after a considerable storage period than when they were 
fresh from the curing process. 

Before the advent of railroads locally, this meat commerce reached out 



thirty to forty miles in all directions and into nearby counties. There is 
evidence that it would have become vastly greater if it had been possible to 
obtain sufficient numbers of hogs for its development. Thousands of these 
animals were driven on foot from Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina 
to supply the immense trade that developed, not only on a limited scale, but 



'^^ IIH IliniSs 



J. i.t^;; r„,^:uj 



extending up and down the Atlantic coast and to the West Indies. In ex- 
change for Virginia hams, bacon and related products, the West Indies 
furnished much-needed coffee, sugar and rum. Up and down the length of 
the Smithheld waterfront are to be seen to this day the remains of old wharves, 
silently but surely attesting to export trade in Colonial times and later — a 
trade which extended into nearby counties, as indicated, and along coastwise 
routes from Maine to Florida and the West Indies. Also exported were pipe 
staves for sugar hogsheads, hoop poles, and numerous vegetables, including 

Frequently, in Colonial times, both English and Dutch bottoms were used 
for shipping Smithheld products to these far-flung areas, but locally-built 
ships were also employed for this purpose. Rewards were given for achieve- 
ments in shipbuilding through action of the General Assembly of Virginia, 
showing that the value of building a domestic merchant marine was thor- 
oughly recognized by the ruling powers of Colonial Virginia. 

It was in 1667 that four Dutch vessels came up the river and destroyed 


twenty ships used in the Virginia trade, plying out of ports of the Southside 
counties, notably Isle of Wight County. Such indications gave ample evidence 
of the extent of the trade of that time and of its recognized value, as well 
as of a certain type of Colonial trade war which had reached substantial 

One of the products of this region which naturally has great historical 
importance is corn, the production of which the white settlers of earliest 
Colonial times learned from the Indians. Not only did considerable trading 
in this essential product develop between the newcomers and those older 
Americans, but the Virginia Government considered corn to be so important 
that it did everything possible to encourage its cultivation. Certain early 
laws required the production of at least two acres of corn per laborer from 
every plantation owner, and severe penalties attached to any failure to carry 
out this requirement. The Assembly never interfered with the price of corn, 
attempting only to encourage its production. 

Only once did it temporarily forbid the exportation of corn, and that was 
at a time when a shortage was feared; but when the emergency was dis- 
covered a short time later to have been largely of fanciful origin, not based 
upon accurate calculation, the prohibition was quickly removed. The so-called 
"Winchester Measure," which is known even today, had its origin back in 
1630, when it was fixed by law to constitute officially a barrel of corn. The 
amount included in this officially constituted barrel was five bushels. 

These are a few of the ways in which this community was important long 
before Smithfield as such was formally created by law in 1752. The Act of 
Establishment says that "representation having been made to the General 
Assembly that Arthur Smith, of Isle of Wight County, having laid out a 
portion of his land on Pagan Creek into streets and lots" and "that the 
location being healthy and open to trade and navigation . . . the said parcel 
of land lately belonging to the said Arthur Smith be, and is, hereby established 
a town to be called by the name of Smithfield." 

The Act then continued: 

And whereas, it is expedient that trustees be appointed to lay off and 
regulate the streets and settle the bounds of the town, be it enacted, there- 
fore, that from and after the passing of this Act, Robert Burwell, Arthur 
Smith, William Hodsden, James Baker, James Dunlop, James Arthur and 
Joseph Bridger be appointed trustees for the said town . . . "Be it further 
enacted that it shall not be lawful for any person whatever to build, or cause 
to be erected, any wooden chimney, and if such wooden chimney be built, 
it shall be the duty of the sheriff to tear down the same and demolish. 

Throughout all Tidewater Virginia great trouble attended the fancied 
economy of erecting wooden chimneys, which caused fires that were some- 



times disastrous and devastating. Throughout that entire epoch it was with 
considerable difficulty that the authorities were able to impress people with 
the danger of this regrettable practice, which was brought to an end only 
after numerous destructive lessons of experience. 

The original Smithfield town survey was made by Jordan Thomas, who 
was county surveyor of Isle of Wight County at that time. The corporate 
limits of the town of Smithfield extended westward along Main Street as 
far as an old brick culvert built under the street at Southall's old drug store. 


1 1 esse j. Scoii Photo) 

This limit was extended in 1856 to the foot of the hill at the brick culvert 
adjoining the lands of Merritt Womble and A. G. Spratley. In 1902 the town 
limits were extended still farther. 

Smithfield lies on an elevation of land about 25 feet above Pagan Creek, 
on the creek's southern side, at a point where it converges with Cypress 
Creek to form the Pagan River. The town is about five miles from the 
James River, fifteen miles from Hampton Roads, eighty miles southeast-by- 
east from Richmond and 204 miles from Washington, D. C. It lies on what, 
for the Tidewater area, may be considered high table-land, dipping in every 
direction as the roads extending from it pass over high ridges. The town is 
generally regarded as healthful, comfortable and satisfactory for business 
operations. It has excellent and easy communications with nearby places. 
Many of the newer roads follow earlier routes, which in turn often followed 
paths laid out by the Indians. Even some of the bridges forming an extensive 


modern network of river crossings can trace their locations to those older 
routes established by the white man's predecessors on this continent, although 
naturally they did not have an engineering science capable of producing 
today's fine bridges and roads. 

Smithfield lies on the old Norfolk-Richmond stage line, and in times 
when stagecoaches were extensively used as a means of transportation this 
town was a center for changing horses and furnishing new relays and teams. 
Back in 1748 there were two ferry lines across the Pagan and Cypress creeks 
respectively, on which the fare was 4 pence (6I4 cents) for a person, a 
vehicle and a horse. A system of tolls continued as a means of financing 
these communications systems until bridges finally replaced the older ferry 

In 1750, even before Smithfield was yet a town, the Court House of Isle 
of Wight County was moved to this community. Three brick buildings were 
built at that time at Main and Pierce Streets — the Court House, the Clerk's 
Office, and the Jail. Across Main Street from the Court House was a square 
known as the Court House Green, which was used on Court days for convey- 
ances of all kinds, as well as for gatherings of little clusters of people to 
discuss their private and public affairs. From the stone steps of the little brick 
Clerk's Office, auctioneers of that earlier day sold slaves, and also hired them 
and sold other property. 

In 1800 Major Francis Boykin donated land for a new Court House. 
This land was given to the County for this purpose, and Major Boykin 
personally financed the erection of several buildings. The public docu- 
ments of the county remained for a short period in an old frame building, 
which later became a part of a tavern and so served until after the beginning 
of the twentieth century. These documents were later housed in a brick 
building, which was enlarged in 1822 and which was still serving as the 
Clerk's Office after the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1892 a modern 
fireproof vault was installed in this building to assure the safety of the records. 

Smithfield, like other Tidewater Virginia and Southern communities, 
learned unpleasant lessons as to the vulnerability of public documents, many 
of which were destroyed in city after city in the Revolutionary War and 
again the War between the States — not to mention at all the numerous 
disastrous fires which wiped out records and buildings alike at different 
periods of history throughout the country, without benefit of war or an enemy 
bent upon arson. 

It is known that General Tarleton's raid in the Revolutionary War aimed 
at the destruction of Isle of Wight County's records in Smithfield. His aim 
would have been successful except for the patriotic action of the deputy clerk's 
wife, who had moved these documents from the clerk's office, while her 
husband, Francis Young, was in the service with his regiment. This heroic- 

Va. 2—18 


minded woman buried a box and an old "hair trunk" for safe keeping. The 
trunk long remained a family heirloom. The records of Isle of Wight 
County, which she had thus removed from their storage place in Smithfield, 
remained buried until after the British surrender at Yorktown and the close 
of the Revolutionary War. When finally removed from their wartime burial- 
place, they were found to be somewhat damaged by the depredations of 
worms, but otherwise in an excellent state of preservation. They were then 
duly restored to their proper place in the County Clerk's Office in Smithfield. 

When war once again endangered the Smithfield area, the records were 
moved to Greensville County in May, 1862, then to Brunswick. Only after 
their safety was again assured were they returned to Smithfield to be replaced 
in the Clerk's Office. The County Clerk of Isle of Wight County was at that 
time M. P. Young. A Negro, Randolph Booth, who worked with Mr. Young, 
was in the woods four days with these records at the time of their removal. 
This same Negro remained continuingly loyal to his master, whom he served 
until after the beginning of the twentieth century. He was one of the last 
of the "old school" Negroes in this region. 

The old jail, built in 1804, was torn down in 1902 and replaced by a 
modern fireproof building. Further improvements at that period included the 
remodeling of the Court House in 1903 and the installation of a new fireproof 
vault in the Clerk's Office, whose exterior remained, however, for the most 
part unchanged. 

One of Smithfield's oldest buildings, the Masonic Hall, has been con- 
tinuously used since 1789. It is next to the oldest Masonic Hall in all Vir- 
ginia, the one in Richmond antedating it by only three years. 

Smithfield also has a venerable business history. One of its earliest 
business establishments was that of E. M. Todd & Co., founded in 1787. 
Old invoices show trading in hams as far back as 1779, when they were 
shipped to St. Eustasius in the West Indies, being furnished locally by Mallory 
Todd, of Smithfield. At the present time Smithfield ships tens of thousands 
of cured hams annually, only the hog supply holding these figures lower 
than they might otherwise be. The Todd firm's operations are now centered 
in Richmond. 

Another prominent industry here, as in other parts of Tidewater Virginia, 
is peanut processing. Both the Gwaltney-Bunkley Peanut Company and the 
Smithfield Peanut Company are known throughout the world for their fine 

Smithfield is a community which harmoniously blends the old and the 
new, maintaining many customs reminiscent of early Colonial times, side by 
side with innovations which are adopted for practical present-day convenience. 
Many visitors remember its beautiful trees and the spacious porches adorning 
its older homes, often very close to the street, suggesting the warm hospitality 



of the earlier builders — an attribute which unfortunately threatens to vanish 
like a dream from modern life. The old wharves at the waterfront have left 
their remains as a link with times gone by, and many other landmarks 
demonstrate how an earlier and a later period can exist side by side in the 
same moment of time. 

Back in 1840 Smithfield was a town of ten stores and fewer than 1,000 
inhabitants. By the end of the nineteenth century the number of stores had 

(Jesse J. Scoti Photo) 

multiplied, there having been twenty general stores, six grocery and fresh 
meat stores, two drug stores, a hotel, a saddlery shop, three undertaking 
establishments, a cabinetmaking firm and several other minor business enter- 
prises. There were also oyster dealers who carried on the region's extensive 
oyster and fishery business, more details of which are to be found in Chap- 
ter XXVII, "Isle of Wight County." Vessels were also built locally to serve 
and help develop business. Another prominent mainstay in economic life was 
lumber. Shortly after the beginning of the twentieth century there were four 
lumber firms in Smithfield, as well as a planing mill. 

At about that time the modern public utilities began to take shape. The 
Home Telephone Company started with a single telephone — that of the 
Gwaltney-Bunkley Peanut Company. The system now serves Smithfield and 
Franklin, and ramifies throughout the area and has nationwide and world- 
wide links. The Smithfield Water Company was founded in 1901. 

Present leading companies in Smithfield include P. D. Gwaltney, Jr., and 


Company, headed by Howard W. Gwaltney, for years Smithfield's mayor. 
Products supplied by this organization include Smithfield hams, sausages, fresh 
pork and provisions. The present company of this name was incorporated in 
1870. The Smithfield Ham and Products Company, Inc., headed by J. C. 
Sprigg, Jr., as president, also produces Smithfield hams and bacon, as well as 
varieties of canned meats in both glass and tin packaging. The Smithfield 
Packing Company, Inc., makers of pork products — fresh, cured and manu- 
factured — is headed by J. W. Luter, Jr., president of the company, as well 
as executive vice president of the Historic St. Luke's Restoration. At the time 
of the general 1957 celebration, another firm, new to Smithfield, was estab- 
lishing international headquarters at "Smithfield Farms," near this community 
— namely, V. H. Monette and Company, headed by Valmore H. Monette. 

The development of Smithfield's religious life closely followed that of all 
Tidewater Virginia, being linked in its early stages with the fortunes of the 
Established Church of England. As religious and political revolution emerged 
side by side in Virginia and the American Colonies, as well as abroad, re- 
sulting eventually in the political independence of the Colonies and the 
Church's disestablishment, men's religious faith was shattered but to be re- 
strengthened and renewed in unexpected ways. It was unquestionably the 
intention of the early leaders of the Established Church in America to 
propagate the faith, not only among the white settlers, but among the Indians. 

From the outset the Church encountered an unavoidable preoccupation with 
the tremendously difficult problems attendant upon colonization. As the Revo- 
lution approached the Church was not at all helped by the harsh policies of 
its parent Church of England across the seas, which too often followed 
a political line which had its supporters also on this side of the ocean. The 
Church suffered, too, from a scarcity of good ministers, who when they were 
available found themselves unattracted by the poor salaries offered in Vir- 
ginia. And to top off these many difficulties, the head of the Established 
Church in Virginia, the Bishop of London, was 3,000 miles away. 

Despite all obstacles, there is no question that the early leaders of the 
Established Church in America were in a large number of instances dedicated 
personalities; otherwise there never could have arisen that remarkable series 
of old church buildings, erected ten or twelve miles apart, extending all the 
way from Norfolk to the Appomattox River. These churches, built with 
obvious wisdom and forethought, as well as necessary frugality, were in them- 
selves a monument to the piety of those leaders of the Established Church 
and to the wisdom displayed in the London Company and the Virginia House 
of Burgesses. 

A classic instance in point is to be found near Smithfield in the Old Brick 
Church, the very positioning of which showed considerable thought and wis- 
dom. This famous old church was placed five miles from the river settlements, 


five miles from a church in neighboring Nansemond County, and five miles 
from two wide and deep streams which would have cut it off from any church 
in the Upper Parish. It was also built on the main road from the settlement on 
Lawne's Creek to the settlements in Upper Norfolk. The Old Brick Church was 
started in 1632, according to the usual stories of its founding, by Joseph 
Bridger, father of Colonel Joseph Bridger who served on the King's Council 
for the Colony of Virginia, and who died in 1682 and was buried on his farm, 
"White Marsh," three miles from the church. His grave was marked by a 
marble slab, which was removed at a later period and deposited in the church. 

This Old Brick Church was reshingled about 1737, and again in 1838, 
both times with good cypress shingles. The bricks used in its construction 
were of the best clay, sealed with mortar made of well-burnt oyster shell lime 
and building sand, both of local origin. The mortar used in its construction 
is said to be almost as hard as flint and vastly superior to similar mortar 
products used in more recent structures. 

The Old Brick Church is said to be the oldest structure of its kind in 
America which is still encased in its original walls. These walls, if they 
could tell stories, would perhaps speak of Tarleton's Troopers lying in the 
shade of nearby trees, bent upon attack, or of Virginia militiamen in the war 
of 1812 or of Confederates of 1861 camping in this same shade, as well as 
of political speeches made here, of love duets and famous old barbecues in 
adjoining groves. The Old Brick Church was actually little used from the 
start of the Revolution until the 1830s, because the general disfavor in which 
the Established Church came to be held during that period alienated those 
who had been its original staunch supporters. 

Actually situated in Isle of Wight County, outside Smithfield on Route 10, 
this famous old church is none the less considered a Smithfield landmark. Of 
noble Gothic lines, with buttressed walls and massive tower, it is situated just 
northwest of the intersection of the James River Bridge road with United 
States Route 10, at Benn's Church Post Office, so named for the modern 
Methodist Church situated on the opposite side of the bridge highway. 

If the church was truly built in 1632, it is unquestionably the oldest 
Protestant church in the United States and the earliest structure of any kind 
of English origin which is still standing in this country. Students of American 
antiquities have in some instances expressed serious doubts, however, as to the 
authenticity of the year 1632, claimed by many as the date of the church's 
erection. This school of thought claims 1682 as the more likely date, insisting 
that some in their zeal misread a dubious digit as "3" instead of "8" — a 
very possible error in consideration of the ravages of centuries and weather. 
These adherents of a later date of founding say also that even the brick 
containing this date could have been made prior to the building itself, per- 
haps marking the beginning rather than the completion of the structure. 


The argument is advanced that most cliurches of the earlier period were 
cruder in form and concept; but others point, in opposition, to the massive 
brick tower of the Jamestown church — all that remains of the structure begun 
in 1639. 

Many other points in argument pro and con as to the date of erection 
of the Old Brick Church have been advanced. One such point is that the 
builder, named in some works as Colonel Joseph Bridger, was born in 1628 
and would therefore have been only four years old when the church was 
built. But his father, said to have been Captain Joseph Bridger, is then 
given credit for the church's construction: To which argument the opponents 
counter that the father's name was actually Samuel and that he was not known 
to have come at all to Virginia. Boddie's Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight 
finds little evidence that the Bridgers were in Isle of Wight County before 1657. 

Similar arguments with respect to the role of the Driver family in the 
church's construction seem to lead to no firm conclusion. Major evidence for 
this family's participation rests upon the initials, "C. D." and "T. D.," carved 
in bricks in the right-hand front quoins of the church tower, near the top, 
at its southwest corner. These initials are supposed to stand for Charles and 
Thomas Driver. A strong tradition persists, further, in the Driver family 
that some of its early members were brought by Colonel Joseph Bridger to 
Isle of Wight County to build the Old Brick Church. But the Drivers, like 
the Bridgers, seem to have come at a later period, first appearing in the 
county in 1657. 

Once the conflicting forces of logic assail each other regarding historical 
"facts," whether the question be the existence of Shakespeare or the au- 
thenticity of the signature on the house that Jack built, more and more "facts" 
are marshalled as evidence on this side or that while the truth of the matter 
recedes into an ever more fading background. But these arguments and 
bickerings seem themselves to fade into the background when one contemplates 
the actual church in its ancient dignity and strength and reflects upon the 
known vicissitudes through which it has passed in the intervening years be- 
tween whatever the year of its establishment may have been and the also 
ever-shifting present moment. 

The actual renaming of the original Old Brick Church came in 1828 — a 
time of recent enough date for the facts to be on record. Each great war was 
usually followed by a period of religious inactivity, during which periods the 
churches languished for want of repairs. And neither the War of 1812 nor 
the Old Brick Church was an exception. When recovery set in about 1825, 
a young deacon, the Rev. W. G. H. Jones, began to interest himself in the 
religious life, holding missionary services in the Old Brick Church. In his day 
the fashion prevailed of giving saints' names to old colonial churches, and 
the Rev. Mr. Jones fell into line with the popular trend. He initiated and 


led the movement to rename the old church St. Luke's, although no official 
vestry action nor special consecration service ever validated the change. Stu- 
dents contend that no historical basis other than that mentioned exists for 
naming this church St. Luke's, and that the name is not properly applied. 
Actually, the nineteenth-century parish vestry book refers to the church as 
"the Old Brick Church" or "the Old Isle of Wight Church," not as "St. 
Luke's" — a name which was only revived at the time of the restoration effort 
in 1889. 

It was in that year that the Rev. David Barr, rector of Christ Church, 
became intensely interested in a restoration program. When Christ Church 
was built in 1832, the Old Brick Church was left to decay, the vestry order- 
ing only sufficient effective measures to protect it from intruders. Some ac- 
counts lead one to wonder how effective the measures were. In any event, 
after a half-century of neglect, the roof fell in one stormy night in 1886, 
carrying down with it a large portion of the east gable. 

This emergency led to action on the part of the Rev. David Barr, who 
resigned as rector of Christ Church to engage in a fund-raising project on 
behalf of the Old Brick Church. For years he continued his efforts as a col- 
lector of money for his project, on which sufficient progress was made that 
services could be held in the church building by 1890, although the restora- 
tion was not completed until 1894. Mr. Barr's removal to Washington, D. C, 
necessitated his leaving the task in the hands of the Rev. F. G. Scott and the 
vestry of the church in Smithfield. One of the vestrymen who was especially 
devoted to the work was R. S. Thomas, long active in the restoration move- 
ment. At that period bricks broken when the roof collapsed were replaced 
by 2,000 bricks from Jamestown's last colonial church ruin. A new chancel- 
rail was made from wood from the framework of the fallen roof. The gifts 
made during the progress of the work included a superb stained glass 
window in the chancel, which was presented by Queen Victoria of England. 
But St. Luke's did not resume its status as the parish church of Newport 
Parish, although occasional services still were held within its walls. Main- 
tenance was turned over to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia 
Antiquities, which managed on the basis of voluntary contributions. Old trees 
and boxwood still adorned the churchyard. 

The most recent restoration of St. Luke's required five years of con- 
centrated work and effort. Henry Mason Day, a native of Smithfield, was 
described as the "guiding star" of the project, which he lived to see finished. 
His death occurred at his home in New York in July, 1957, less than two 
months after the rededication of the church which he did so much to restore 
to its seventeenth-century appearance. At the rededication ceremonies he 
deliberately chose the least desirable place on the speaker's stand, and except 


for thanking others for their help said simply but few words; "This is the 
happiest day of my life. I'm so happy I can't say another word." 

On that occasion the original St. Luke's Bible was displayed in the center 
of the altar, on a brocaded cushion — the 1629 first Cambridge edition of the 
King James Version, which was used in the church until 1777, when it was 
put aside as a precious relic by William Hodsden, then a vestryman, who 
feared that the Revolutionary fervor of the period might lead to the Book's 
loss or desecration. For five generations it was in the Hodsden family's 
possession, then was given back to the church by Katherine Heath Pinner 
Hodsden and Bruce Hodsden Gray as a memorial to Robert Edmund Hods- 
den. The American draw-type communion table, dating from about 1640, 
was spread with a "fair linen cloth," according to the rubric of the Book of 
Common Prayer; and on it stood a massive pair of James I brass pricket 
candlesticks, the altar cross and brass vases of brilliant red gladioli. The 
clergy at that rededication service used the two seventeenth-century Amer- 
ican oak armchairs at each side of the altar table. 

Perhaps the spiritual keynote of St. Luke's was best struck by the Right 
Rev. William A. Brown, retired Bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, 
who chose the theme of "the continuity of the Christian Church." He said 
in part: . 

Despite the errors and irregularities that have been committed by Chris- 
tians throughout the centuries, the fact remains that the strong thread of 
truth has always survived. It is that truth that has worked even in the darkest 
times for the betterment of mankind. It was responsible for the Magna 
Charta, the basis of our freedom. It was also responsible for the gathering 
together of the early Virginia settlers on July 30, 1619, when they met in 
the choir of the Jamestown church and set up the principles of self-govern- 
ment on this continent. 

Captain Christopher Lawne, one of that assembly, lived not far from this 
church that stands out prominently as the very ideal of what Christian 
principles mean to this great republic of ours. It is not only a place of worship 
standing in a lovely setting miraculously preserved from destruction, it is 
not only the 'last gasp of the Gothic,' on these American shores, but it is a 
symbol of those teachings that have dignified humanity. 

The delightsomeness of this spot will continue to impress those who come 
here. It will become a shrine where thousands will rededicate themselves to 
the glorious teachings that have made us the great and wonderful people that 
we are. It is a priceless link with the past. Today comes out of yesterday; 
tomorrow is in the womb of today. 

At the time of rededication, St. Luke's was not the only "tourist attraction" 
in Smithfield and Isle of Wight County. The "Old Court House" in Smithfield 
is considered by some architectural authorities to be the finest colonial court- 



house still standing in Virginia. Built about 1750, it served the purpose 
implied in its name until 1800, when the county seat was moved to Isle of 
Wight Court House. Like many other colonial buildings, it reflects the in- 
fluence of Sir Christopher Wren. In 1955 the exterior brick wall of the 
rounded courtroom was restored. The style of this rounded section, which 
forms one end of the building and is topped by a plain conical tower — or, 

(Jesse J. Scott Photo I 


to be more correct, semi-conical to correspond with the semi-circular form 
below, — was consulted by architects from Williamsburg in constructiong sim- 
ilar rooms in the Capitol. 

Around the corner from this ancient courthouse is "The Grove," recently 
restored home of Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. A. E. S. Stephens. This 
house was originally built in 1780 by Thomas Pierce on land which ran 
down to the wharf on the river. Its 18-inch brick walls, classical porclies, 
fan lights and handsome stairwell are of particular interest. Down Main 
Street is Sykes' Inn, dating back to the 1750s, and which in 1926 was re- 
stored to its former use by Mrs. D. W. Sykes. 

The old Todd House, known as "The Hill," was built about 1770 by 
Captain Mallory Todd, who came to Smithfield from Bermuda at that time 
and put up the main part of this Georgian house. The structure housed 
what was the original Smithfield ham industry. Near the house today is still 


to be seen the foundation of the old smokehouse. The original furniture and 
portraits are on display at "The Hill," which is presently owned by the 
Rev. William Brayshaw, who has his library m the basement. Members of 
the Todd family lived here until 1953. 

Other houses of notable antiquity which were on display in connection 
with the Jamestown Festival in 1957 included the Barrett House, now used 
as an office building. It was erected in 1752, the year of Smithfield's found- 
ing. In 1851 it was acquired by Robert F. Barrett, whose grandson, Frederick 
M. Barrett II, restored it in 1954 and 1955. Across Church Street from the 
Barrett House is the Benjamin P. Chapman Memorial Library. 

An old legend has it that a treasure was hidden in the mantel of the 
Wilson-Morrison House, another of Smithfield's very old residences. The 
present owners, Mr. and Mrs. George W. Mumford, thought that they might 
find some sign of the hoard when they were restoring the structure in recent 
years, but no trace of any riches appeared. If there at all, the treasure is well 
concealed. A wholly unconcealed treasure, however, is the grandfather clock, 
which has occupied its special niche above the circular "hanging" staircase 
since 1790 and still keeps almost perfect time. 

Four and one-half miles north of Smithfield is Fort Boykin, situated on 
a bluff 45 feet above the James River. There was a fort here as early as 1623, 
although the massive earthworks now to be seen, in the shape of a seven- 
pointed star, were erected during the War between the States. Two huge 
cannons, of the type displayed at the Jamestown celebration, were placed 
here in 1957. But for the most part the fort is now famous for its beautiful 
gardens and flowers, installed by Miss Elizabeth Jordan and her family. 
The first formal gardens in Virginia are to be found at nearby Shoal Bay, 
overlooking the widest part of the James. The owner of these gardens, W. J. 
Newton, has been told that one giant boxwood plant is 275 years old. Among 
these ancient plants the Baker family took refuge when the old house, no 
longer standing, was shelled by federal gunboats during the War between the 
States. At Shoal Bay is an unrestored house built of bricks from the Old 
Bay Church, on Burwell's Bay, five miles from Smithfield. 

The present Town of Smithfield is thus a remarkable combination of old 
and new, of ancient landmarks and modern industries, although even the 
leading industry — Smithfield hams — retains an ancient flavor in a world of 
change and kaleidoscopic transience. Of course, the curing of hams has 
altered, too, with the introduction of new machinery and methods; but con- 
sumers of Smithfield hams still obtain their favorite products here simply 
because an ancient wisdom of ham curing has been retained in the local in- 
dustry. Bacon, sausage and lard are other leading products in this picturesque 
old town, which still had a population of only 1,180 in the 1950 census. 

Perhaps a look from outside, taken at the time of the 1957 celebration. 


best portrays Smitlifield. Eleven members of the British Goodwill Mission to 
the 350th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown spent ninety minutes 
in Smithfield on April 2, 1957, and found St. Luke's Churchyard reminiscent 
of their own English countryside. The Right Hon. Viscount Hailsham, Min- 
ister of Education and leader of the mission, called the church "a little gem." 
Remarking that the great cathedrals belong mainly to the European con- 
tinental religious tradition, he commented that "we in England pride our- 
selves on our parish churches." He compared St. Luke's to the Essex churches 
from which its builders had probably derived inspiration, and said that it 
was built in the style of his own Sussex house, which had been erected in 

Lord Hailsham commented on the same day in Williamsburg that the 
American Revolution had been good for both America and England. "Neither 
of our peoples could have fulfilled their destiny," he commented, "if we had 
remained together . . . The soul and independency of Britain were saved in 
the War of Independence no less than of America." He added that after 
200 years it was becoming increasingly difficult to discern who became inde- 
pendent of whom in 1783 and who gained the most by independence. He 
concluded that, had there been no revolution, the heart of the British Empire 
might well be in New York, with the capital most likely in Williamsburg. 

By the middle of the nineteenth century, said Lord Hailsham, the United 
States was receiving the exiled and dispossessed of all nations, and "within 
a century and a half they had built up the wealthiest, most powerful, most 
highly organized community the world has ever seen." 

References on Chapter XXVIII 

Morrison, A Brief Hi story of Isle of Wight County. 1608-1907. 

The Virginian-Pilot. Norfolk, Va., April 3, 1957. 

Ihid.. May 24, 1957. 

Ibid.. May 19, 1957. 

Ibid.. May 20, 1957. 

Meade, Old Churches and Families of Virginia. 

Chapter XXIX 

The County of Southampton 


By Floyd McKnight 

THAT AREA OF Tidewater Virginia which now constitutes South- 
ampton County was, prior to 1749, a part of Isle of Wight County, 
one of the eight original shires created in 1634. Before the partition 
actually took place, it was unquestionably a continuing subject of discussion 
over a period of years. As early as March 7, 1745, proponents of such a 
division directed a petition to the House of Burgesses, protesting "that there 
are upwards of 3,000 tithables in the said County [Isle of Wight]; that the 
vast Extent of the same makes it very burthensome to many of its Inhabitants, 
who are obliged to meet near the Black-water, at General Musters, and 
abundance of poor People walk Thirty Miles and oftentimes lie in the Woods; 
others not being able to undergo such Hardships, suffer themselves to be 
fined: That the Distance of the Justices is so far from Court, and no Con- 
veniency of Lodging there, that they seldom attend more than Six Times in 
a Year, And pray that the said County may be divided into two distinct 
Counties, by the Black-water Stream." 

The county was named after the Third Earl of Southampton (1573-1624), 
who was Henry Wriothesley, friend of Shakespeare, who dedicated to him 
two of his famous long poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. 
Wriothesley was Treasurer* of the Virginia Company and had an intense 
interest in the colonization of North America. He was eventually accused of 
participation in the treason of Essex, and spent his last days in The Nether- 
lands. The second Earl of Essex himself, a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I of 
England and her appointee as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, had angered her 
by the failure of his operations against Irish rebels; and when he failed in 
laying his defense before her and did not regain his standing at the royal 
court, conspired to compel her by force of arms to dismiss his enemies in the 
council. He was arrested and executed for treason in 1601. Shakespeare's 
friend, after whom Southampton County was named, escaped that fate. 

Southampton County is bounded on the east, as already noted, by the 
Blackwater River, which separates it from Isle of Wight County, as well as 

* Chief executive officer. 


for some distance by Nansemond County; on the northwest by Surry and 
Sussex counties; on the west by Greensville County; and on the south by the 
North Carolina State line. It is approximately 40 miles long and 13 miles 
wide, with a total area of 604 square miles. It is drained by the Meherrin, 
Nottoway and Blackwater rivers, and has the mild climate characteristic of 
the region. 

Boasting a population of 26,522 (1950 census), this county includes 
within its borders seven incorporated towns — Courtland, Franklin, Boykins, 
Capron, Ivor, Newsoms and Branchville. Courtland, the county seat, is cen- 
trally located in the county, while Franklin is the leading town in size with 
a population of 4,670 (1954 census). Courtland's population is 600. These 
towns and the county's other communities are linked by an excellent system 
of roads and highways, the chief ones being United States Routes 58 and 
158 and State Routes 33 and 35. 

Prior to the first decade of the eighteenth century there were seemingly 
no legal settlements south of the Blackwater River. In March, 1697, the 
surveyor of Surry and Isle of Wight counties was ordered to appear on the 
next court day of the General Court, bearing copies of all entries he had 
made on the "Black Water." When he attended the General Court session, 
he evidently failed to show by what authority he had made the entries which 
he had brought, and also failed to bring his commission or instructions with 
him. Consequently he was ordered to appear at a subsequent session of the 
Council. On that occasion he brought his commission and presented it, but 
did not seem to clear himself "for taking entrys of Land on the Black water 
contrary to restrictions and orders of Councill," so was suspended by that 

Whatever politics underlay the Council decision, it revealed certainly a 
growing interest in a region until then largely unexplored, or at least un- 
settled. A proclamation of December, 1710, prohibited the seating of land 
between the Nottoway and Meherrin rivers. But by January, 1711, many 
settlers had seated themselves and their settlements were prospering. Evidence 
of the headway made lies in the order of 1734 that a new Court House be 
built on the east side of the Blackwater River, near Quinny's Bridge. In that 
same year a parish was formed on the west side of the Blackwater. By 1745, 
as noted, the inhabitants were finding the outlines of the original county of 
Isle of Wight unwieldy from an administrative and functional point of view 
• — a condition which was corrected by creation of the separate county in 1749- 

The first court in the present Southampton County was held at the home 
of Elizabeth Ricks, about two miles from the present county seat of Court- 
land, on June 8, 1749. Several leaders in the district at that time took oaths 
of office, becoming justices of the peace and judges in chancery. These men 
were Samuel Blow, Jesse Brown, Peter Butts, Howell Edmonds, Joseph Gray, 


Thomas Jarrell, Albridgeton Jones, John Person, James Ridley, Nathaniel 
Ridley, Benjamin Ruffin, Benjamin Simmons, Ethelred Taylor and Thomas 
Williamson. Richard Kello became the first county clerk; Benjamin Ruffin, 
the first sheriff; Peter Butts and Thomas Jarrell, the first coroners; and Arthur 
Arrington, John Bowen, Jr., Benjamin Branch, Joseph Cobb and Samuel 
Kindred, the first constables. 

At that same court session at Elizabeth Ricks's home, consideration was 
given to public buildings. Agreement was reached that these buildings were to 
be "fixed" on the land of Elizabeth Exum, near Flowers Bridge, now Court- 
land, on the Nottoway River. The justices were commissioned to purchase 
two acres of land and to advertise publicly that any builder desiring to erect 
these buildings should meet with them and agree upon the matter. The Court 
House was to be 40 feet long and 24 feet wide, with the other buildings 
as the constracting justices should deem appropriate. Exum Scott was licensed 
to keep an ordinary at his house near Flowers Bridge, rates being listed 
according to law. 

The August, 1749, term of court was held at Exum Scott's house. At that 
time the permanent seat of government was established in what later became 
Courtland. Leonard Claiborne, Jr., Gentleman, produced his license and was 
sworn in as an attorney-at-law. Robert Jones presented his commission from 
the president and masters of the College of William and Mary, and was 
named county surveyor. Early representatives sent to the House of Burgesses 
were Ethelred Taylor, Thomas Jarrett, Joseph Gray and William Taylor. 

The court term of June, 1750, provided for the building of a prison. 
Robert Ricks was paid £23, 10s. for erecting its framework. On February 14, 
1751, a committee was ordered to inspect the prison, pillory, stocks and 
whipping post. Payment to Ricks evidently meant that the structures passed 

The Court House required more time for its construction, and complete 
approval of the work was not so quickly forthcoming. It was practically 
finished by April 9, 1752, when an inspection committee was named. The 
next court ordered that Arthur Williamson be paid £50 for completion of the 
work, though a further order described certain work which was needed in 
order to meet fully the terms of the agreement. 

On January 11, 1753, Harry Blount and Micajah Edwards were ordered 
to appraise lands for the remainder of the county buildings, pursuant to an 
Act of Assembly. Exum Scott was allotted funds for this purpose. Although 
the amounts paid for such work may seem small by any standards approach- 
ing those of the present time, there was undoubtedly by the general levels 
of the period a greater quantity of wealth in the area than might be ordinarily 
imagined. The wealth of the residents was evidenced, rather, in possessions 
which were recorded in inventories, appraisals, wills and similar documents — 


not money, but such items as cooper's tools, silver spoons, "ivory hefted 
knives," mourning rings, casks of brandy and quarters of bacon. 

As in other Tidewater counties, the Established Church long ruled the 
religious life. Parish and political government existed side by side, with the 
bounds of a parish usually corresponding with those of a county in the 
earlier stages, until at length it became convenient to divide the parish, while 
county divisions took place less frequently. Nottoway Parish existed before 
Southampton County, having been formed in 1734 from those parts of 
Newport and Warrosquyoake parishes which lay on the west side of the 
Blackwater River. At the time of the formation of the county of Southampton, 
in 1749, the parish was already growing unwieldy in its proportions, with 
the result that in 1762 it was divided and the Parish of St. Luke, lying 
between the Nottoway and Meherrin rivers, was split off from it. 

As in other parts of Virginia, the parishes were administered by their 
boards of vestrymen, there usually being twelve vestrymen who were the 
chief officers of each parish. Just as the political government prevailed over 
civil and public affairs, the parish heads — mainly the vestrymen, who were 
supposed to be models of rectitude — were the presiding geniuses over what 
now falls under the heading of social welfare work and even personal 
morality and behavior, as well as over the actual administration of the church 

With the oncoming of the Revolutionary War, sharp divisions of feeling 
arose, therefore, within the parish organizations as within the political life. 
Since the Established Church, basically, looked for its rulership across the 
Atlantic, its North American network included large numbers of Tories, as 
well as those whose feelings of loyalty were directed toward the aggrieved 
attitude of the revolutionary-minded colonists who could not brook the 
English tyranny. One of the early St. Luke's Parish ministers, George Gurley, 
who served at least from 1773 to 1792, probably longer, was a loyal Vir- 
ginian, anti-English in all his sympathies. Another minister, William Andrews, 
of Nottoway Parish, was a Tory even as late as 1776. A third, Henry John 
Burges, a patriotic American, headed five churches in Southampton County 
and also taught school and interested himself in education. During the war, 
Burges was captured and imprisoned by the English. After his liberation at 
the close of hostilities, both he and Gurley were justices of the County Court. 

Those ministers whose sympathies were on the Tory side, however, found 
no place for their activities in Virginia, if, indeed, they returned at all. The 
Established Church itself was at that stage under suspicion, and suffered a 
fast decline, with the Episcopal Church sometimes taking its place and the 
Methodist and Baptist denominations attracting many converts. 

On the political side, too, of course, the mounting clashes of opinion had 
their effects in the external organization. In fact, it is not generally realized 


how methods of government have changed with changing political moods 
from earliest colonial times down to the present, the changing moods them- 
selves arising out of sometimes bitter experiences. 

The system of warehousing and inspection of tobacco underwent different 
changes until, in 1730, the Governor and the County Court began to share 
together in a plan to erect warehouses and provide for the appointment of 
inspectors. All tobacco to be exported was thoroughly inspected as to both 
quality of product and packing. Similar warehousing and inspection systems 
were adopted for other commodities. 

The great change came, of course, with the Revolutionary War, which 
signalized a world-wide trend, not merely a local or domestic uprising. With 
the oncoming of that moment of history, Southampton County threw her 
men and materials into the battle for independence. On March 9, 1775, the 
Committee of Public Safety of this county made arrangements for sending 
aid to the suffering people of Boston, with whom they substantially sym- 
pathized. Then, on August 6, 1776, the Governor of Virginia and his Council 
sent out a letter ordering the colonel of the minute battalion hold his troops 
ready to march whenever called upon. Four days later it was ordered that 
four companies of minutemen be raised to replace other Continental forces. 
In September of that year two companies of volunteer militia were sent to 
Williamsburg to protect the Capitol. In February, 1777, 200 men, including 
fifty from Southampton County, were directed to Hampton. 

At different times units of the Southampton County Militia were called 
into active service. One-fourth of them were ordered to Petersburg on Janu- 
ary 2, 1781, upon receipt of news of the invasion of Virginia, and others 
were called to duty in March following a consultation of the Governor and 
his Council with Baron von Steuben. In August, 1781, the county lieutenant 
was ordered to keep one-fourth of his militia in the field with Colonel 
Parker on the south side of the James. 

In July, 1781, the Governor and his Council were informed that South- 
ampton County citizens had supplied great quantities of "necessaries for the 
use of our armies in that Quarter, both voluntarily and by impressment," for 
which certificates had been granted. The sheriff of Southampton County pro- 
tested that he was not empowered to receive these certificates in payment 
of taxes from aggrieved citizens within the county's borders. The reply of 
the Governor and his Council held that all such certificates which had been 
countersigned by Colonel Josiah Parker or Colonel Thomas Newton should 
be received as such payment. 

During the Revolution, the British invaded the western portion of the 
county, but did little damage. On May 14, 1780, Colonel Banastre Tarleton's 
men cleared the fords along what is now Route 58 for Cornwallis's army, 
which was then advancing to Petersburg. Again the British struck at the 

Va. 2—19 


county's southeastern corner, near South Quay, which was then a port of 
entry on the Blackwater River, about four miles below the head of naviga- 
tion. A raiding force from Portsmouth burned supplies there on July 16, 1781. 

In 1791, the Revolution now well ended, Southampton County people 
felt a need for a town, and the Assembly of the new state passed an act in 
that year to establish the town of Jerusalem on ten acres of land adjoining 
the Court House. Almost a century later, in 1888, the local postmistress at 
Jerusalem, Fannie Barrett, protested that the name was not suitable for 
the community and should be changed, certain residents having been an- 
noyed by the fact that whenever they visited Norfolk they were referred to 
as "those Arabs from Jerusalem." It was at that time that the name was 
changed accordingly to Courtland, which was then duly incorporated. 

In September, 1798, the Court named several citizens to contract for 
removal of the Court House and instruct the contractor as to its location. 
It was in that same Court House building that Nat Turner was tried for 
instigating and leading the famous Southampton County Insurrection in 1831. 
Styled "Captain Nat Turner," he headed a group of Negroes who massacred 
fifty-eight persons and spread wide alarm throughout the Tidewater Virginia 
area, as well as in neighboring North Carolina. The group chose Boykins 
District, the most sparsely settled region of the county, for its major ac- 
tivity, striking at Cross Keys and thereabout on August 21 and 22, 1831. 
They hid in the woods until 10 o'clock Sunday night in order to give the 
victims an opportunity to retire, then proceeded to murder all at each house 
visited regardless of age or sex. 

It was Turner's conviction, as a Bible-reading slave, that he had a divine 
mission to "go down to Jerusalem," and an eclipse of the sun in February, 
1831, was considered by him a sign that the Day of Judgment was at hand 
and he should shortly carry out his duty. His owner was Putnam Moore, son 
of Thomas Moore and Mrs. Joseph Travis, who had remarried after Mr. 
Moore's death. The Travises lived near Cross Keys; hence the choice of that 
spot for the attack. In the first instance Turner had only seven followers, but 
sixty or more slaves soon joined him, and on their way to Jerusalem, killing 
and pillaging as they went, they fortified themselves with apple brandy for 
each new crime committed. Local militiamen led by Captain James D. 
Bryant, of Nottoway Parish, started in pursuit of the Negroes, following 
which there was a battle at Parker's Old Field, near Clarksbury Methodist 
Church, in which the insurgents were defeated. Nat Turner himself hid for 
two months, but was finally trapped in a cave near his old home. Despite 
the havoc created and the general fear spread throughout the area, such 
lawlessness could not prevail for long, and Turner was tried and found 
guilty, then hanged at "precisely 12 o'clock" on November 11, 1831. 

By 1834 the frame Court House was already outmoded, and was replaced 


by a new brick structure for which the bricks were said to have been processed 
in the Court House yard. Its unprepossessing rectangular form was not pleas- 
ing to later generations, however, whereupon the building was remodeled 
and renovated. A new tower and portico with massive columns were added, 
completely altering the appearance of the structure; and the interior was 
likewise redesigned to increase the building's usefulness and beauty. Unlike 
neighboring counties, Southampton has records dating back to its estab- 
lishment in 1749, all of which are on hand, complete and intact, in the 
county clerk's office. 

The rise of the railroad industry was important for Southampton County. 
It was in March, 1832, that the Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad was in- 
corporated. Between May 1 and November 1, 1835, the portion of the road 
was laid which passed through this county. At that time plantation owners 
who lived near the right-of-way augmented their incomes by leasing their 
slaves to the contractors. The expectation was that the new road would 
divert from Petersburg to Norfolk and Portsmouth much of the trade with 
the rich Roanoke Valley. 

On Friday, May 20, 1835, according to the American Beacon (Norfolk), 
sixty or seventy bales of cotton from the farms of Mr. Newsom and Mr. 
Vaughan, both in this county, had been received by the road there and im- 
mediately disposed of. On May 30, the road had transported sixty packages 
of merchandise to merchants in Southampton. Early station agents of the road 
were John R. ("Chock") Williams, at Franklin Depot; John M. Neal, at 
Newsoms' Depot; and Edward Beaton, at Boykins' Depot. 

One of the obvious results of the building of this railroad was the rise 
of the community of Franklin, now the county's leading town and one which, 
population-wise, would be entitled to status as a city of the second class. 
Notes and papers left by Matthew Henning Moore, Franklin business man 
who died December 14, 1943, aged eighty-four years, referred to many 
forgotten facts and episodes of Franklin life. A very early reference was to 
Booth's store, opened in 1825. His enterprise evidently did not flourish, for 
he soon moved it to Suffolk, twenty miles away and already much more de- 
veloped. The Blackwater River was at that time navigable as far as Franklin. 
And from South Quay, a port of entry on the river a few miles below Frank- 
lin, a well-travelled road proceeded to Franklin, where it split into two 
parts, one turning right at the foot of Main Street and following the river 
to a bridge about a half-mile downstream, while the other fork of the road 
led toward Jerusalem (now Courtland), the county seat. Every indication 
was that Franklin was at that period a potential seat of business life for 
the area, and only a slight "boost" or "good break" was needed for it to 
develop in an important way. The coming of the Portsmouth and Roanoke 
constituted this "break." Its terminus was Weldon, North Carolina, and the 


first section to be completed, from Portsmouth to Suffolk, used horse-drawn 
trains. In September, 1834, the first steam locomotive in the area caused great 
excitement. A five-ton specimen, it was christened "John Barrett" in honor 
of the first white man to ascend the Roanoke River above the great falls. 
By July, 1835, the road had reached the Nottoway River, in Southampton 
County, and excursion trains were being run to this region. The point reached 
in this county at that early date was known as Murfee's Depot, named after 
a Baptist minister, the Rev. Simon Murfee. 

A reporter wrote in the Norfolk and PortS)iiouth Herald of July 29, 1835: 

We enjoyed a delightful ride on the Portsmouth & Roanoke Rail Road 
on Monday as far as the Nottoway, the present limit of the run of the cars. 
The distance is 42 miles, which is run with ease in somewhat less than three 
hours, with the new locomotive, 'General Cabel,' and the trip to the Nottoway 
and back, 34 miles, is performed in about 8 hours, which includes two for 
dinner and stoppages on the way. 

To one bound on this jaunt there is not much diversity of scene — no 
hamlets, villas, churches, lawns, or other materials for a picturesque land- 
scape (with the single exception of Suffolk, the scenery about which is 
worthy of the poet's lay) — nothing to relieve the monotony of the sylvan 
scene except a few inconsiderable farmsteads, which look as if they blushed 
at being exposed to the public gaze by the intrusion of the railroad upon their 
privacy — with here and there a barren field or half -grown crop of 'old field 

But our attention is yet more strongly attracted to the importance of the 
three fine watercourses which the railroad intersects in its progress to the 
majestic Roanoke, namely the Black Water, the Nottoway and the Meherrin 
rivers . . . Through either of these rivers (which all empty into the Chowan), 
with the assistance of small steamboats, an extensive trade and expeditious 
communication may be kept up between the railroad and Albemarle Sound. 
For this purpose Black Water appears to us to have the preference of the 
other two, not only on account of its greater depth of water but as pur- 
suing a straighter course, and consequently arriving at its junction with the 
Chowan by a much shorter route than its near neighbor, the Nottoway. 
Here, in our opinion, will be the principal intermediate depot for produce 
on the line of the railroad; and we should not be surprised if, in a few years, 
the Bridge at Black Water (an admirable structure, by the way) were to 
exhibit at either end a thriving village, where now there is nothing to be 
seen but swampy wilderness. 

Despite his considerable detail of description, the Herald reporter quoted 
above made no mention of any village or settlement on the Black Water at 
that time. Between July, 1835, and November 10, 1838, Franklin must have 
come into existence, therefore, as recorded in the journal of Elliott L. Story, 
a seventeen-year-old youth living in the Nottoway Chapel neigliborhc?o<], 


about four miles from Jerusalem (Courtland), who noted on that date: 
"Went to Franklin to carry a letter to S. L. Williams." 

In any event, record exists of small vessels bringing freight and pas- 
sengers up the Blackwater to the bridge, where they could be transferred 
by a steep flight of steps to the railroad cars. The first depot known as 
Franklin Depot and the first water tank were built on the east bank of the 
river in Isle of Wight County, across from what later became the sawmill of 
the Camp Manufacturing Company. 

One interesting sidelight of that early railroad was, according to records 
left by R. Crawford Barrett, the first white man born in Franklin, reference 
to the "strap-iron" track, which had an unpleasant, not to say dangerous, 
habit of "rearing up" at the ends of the "straps" and piercing the floors of 
the cars, threatening to "harpoon" any passenger nearby and hoist him to the 
roof of the car, impaled on the jagged end of the "strap-rail." The strap-iron 
rails were therefore replaced by improved "T" rails, which had been intro- 
duced as far as the river's east bank in 1847, when R. Crawford Barrett's 
father, Richard Barrett, came to Franklin to take up his residence with his 
wife, Mary Murfee, daughter of the Rev. Simon Murfee, mentioned above. 
The Barretts lived immediately south of the present Lyon's State Theatre, in 
Franklin. At the insistence of the foreman of the track layers, Mr. Barrett 
served meals to the railroad workers and supplied a room for the foreman. 
The boarding house thus started became a hotel a few months later, and 
Mr. Barrett finally convinced railroad ofiicials to move the depot to the west 
side of the river, where he built a larger hotel. Elliott Story's journal re- 
corded on Saturday, March 27, 1858: "Went to Franklin in the evening, 
bought a few articles, got my paper from the office and bought a few white 
shad, the first we had had this season. They were in great excitement at 
Franklin about moving the depot on this side of the river." 

That same depot, a frame structure, served until destroyed in the great 
fire of 1881, when it was replaced by a new brick depot. Mr. Barrett continued 
in the hotel business until his death in 1868, except for a brief interruption 
during the War between the States. Among large early Franklin landowners 
were Jordan Edwards, John Williams and John B. Jenkins. Richard Barrett 
bought the Jenkins farm in 1847. Because the Barretts clung to their property 
they bought more than did the Edwards and Williams families. The town 
at first spread to the north and west instead of following the railroad, as 
it has done more recently. Other early landholders were the late Denson 
and Samuel B. Pretlow. In 1847 Alexander W. Norfleet, of Nansemond 
County, came to Franklin and started a mercantile business which flourished 
prior to the War between the States. He was agent for the Clyde Line, 
which had a wharf at what later came to be known as "Pin Point." The 


steamboat Helen Smith hauled passengers and freight between Franklin and 
Murfreesboro and other places in northeastern North Carolina. 

Another early railroad was the Norfolk and Petersburg, incorporated in 
1851 and built under the direction of a noted Southampton County native, 
William Mahone, who became an engineer and later achieved distinction in 
the War between the States as "Hero of the Crater." Born December 1, 1826, 
about five miles southwest of Franklin, he was a major general in the 
Confederate army. The action which brought him his famous soubriquet took 
place July 30, 1864. He was United States Senator from Virginia from 1881 
to 1887, and died in Washington, D. C, October 8, 1895. The Norfolk and 
Petersburg Railroad, of which he was the builder, was merged with the 
East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad and the South Side Railroad in 1870, 
to form the Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad, which eventually be- 
came the Norfolk and Western. 

Another and very special artery of trade and travel in ante-bellum days 
was the Petersburg and Jerusalem Plank Road, which connected those two 
end-points by way of Littleton and HawkinsviUe, in Sussex County, and 
Templeton, in Prince George County. William E. Proctor was president of the 
company incorporated by act of the General Assembly, passed March 8, 
1853; and the treasurer of the enterprise was J. C. Schoolfield. Capital stock 
was valued at $75,000, divided into $50 shares, and the building contract 
was led to a Mr. Pratt, of New York, at $1,900 per mile. The contractor 
operated a portable sawmill, which he used to cut the heartpine lumber 
for the road. Portions of the road were unearthed when the "Ridge Route" 
concrete road was laid from Courtland to Petersburg in the 1920s. 

Credit is generally given to General George Henry Thomas, born July 31, 
1816, about five miles southwest of Courtland, for the fact that no fighting 
took place in this county during the War between the States. He was a 
graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, 
and after serving in the Mexican War he remained in the army during the 
War between the States. It is said that, in retaining his commission, he 
stipulated that there should be no fighting in Southampton County, an 
obvious exaggeration. By saving Rosecrans' army from destruction, Septem- 
ber 20, 1863, he won the appellation "Rock of Chickamauga." As Federal 
commander in Tennessee he defeated Hood at Nashville on December 16, 

Despite the fact that Southampton County passed through the war with- 
out the ravages of fighting on its own soil, many of its sons served in the con- 
flict. The Southampton Cavalry was commanded by Captain (later Major) 
Joseph E. Gillette, and became Company A of the Thirteenth Virginia Cavalry, 
training near Smithfield under Colonel Roger A. Pryor. It served in north- 


eastern North Carolina in 1862, and was a participant in many battles that 
were fought in the Richmond and northern Virginia area. 

Another unit was Company A of the Eighteenth Battalion, Virginia 
Artillery, led by Captain William H. Pretlow and composed chiefly of 
Southampton men. Company G of the Sixty-first Regiment of Virginia In- 
fantry, Mahone's Brigade, had for its first captain L. W. Mason, of Sussex 
County. It included men of both Southampton and Sussex counties, as well 
as from North Carolina. Its second captain was R. E. Moseley, a citizen of 
the latter State. Captain W. H. Wood also organized a company which was 
later commanded by Captain Frank Drewry and Lieutenant Littleton A. Gay. 
The Southampton Greys (Company D, Third Virginia Infantry) was or- 
ganized at Jerusalem on May 3, 1861, and mustered into service at Berlin 
on June 3, that year, under command of Captain C. F. Urquhart. 

In addition to Generals Mahone and Thomas, serving Confederacy and 
Union respectively, another Southampton County citizen. Captain James Henry 
Rochelle, served aboard the Confederate ironclad Virginia when it fought the 
Monitor in the world's first historic battle of ironclad ships. Captain Rochelle 
was born in Jerusalem on November 1, 1826, son of James and Martha 
(Gray) Rochelle. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he served 
in the Navy during the Mexican War aboard both the Falmouth and the 
Decatur. During the War between the States he served on the Patrick Henry 
in the James River, then on the Virginia, as the Merrimac was renamed. 
Returning after the war to Southampton County, he later went to South 
America to conduct hydrographic surveys for the Peruvian Government, there 
naming a site on the Amazon River "Letizia" in honor of his niece, Letitia 
Christian Tyler, grand-daughter of President Tyler. She became the wife of 
William Briggs Shands, a Jerusalem attorney who became a Confederate 
general. Both Captain Rochelle and General Shands were buried in Courtland 
(formerly Jerusalem), where they died in 1889 and 1906 respectively. 

Spared the bitter fighting which raked nearby counties, Southampton was 
able to recover faster than its neighbors when peace was restored. Again 
the railroads played an important role. In 1882 the Virginia Assembly ap- 
proved a bill to incorporate the Atlantic and Danville Railway Company, 
which started construction under its charter at Claremont, on the James 
River, in Surry County on April 2, 1883. The project called for a narrow- 
gauge line to Belfield (now Emporia), a distance of fifty miles. The track 
was laid by 1885 and operations began in that year. In 1886 an act of As- 
sembly called for extension from Belfield-Hicksford (Emporia) to Danville, 
as well as extension eastward to Norfolk. The company then started build- 
ing a standard-gauge road from Portsmouth, connecting at Belfield with the 
"James River Division," as the original road came then to be called. The 
line was completed to Danville on February 15, 1890, with the aid of English 



capital represented by Newgass and Company. Financial stringency caused 
sale of the property on April 3, 1894, to B. Newgass and O. H. Edinger. 
On August 31, 1899, it was leased for fifty years to the Southern Railway 
Company. Upon expiration of that lease, in 1949, it once more became the 
Atlantic and Danville. At that time it installed diesel engines. The road's 
path is a snake-like one, most likely because of early agreements with the 
counties through which it passed that it would go through every county seat. 
This restriction, combined with natural topographic limitations, was a matter 

(Courtesy Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp.) 

of bitter feeling in the late 1880s, when the road sought taxpayers' help 
to keep itself going. 

The county is today served by four railroads — the Seaboard Air Line, the 
Norfolk and Western, the Atlantic and Danville and the Virginian; the 
latter — the youngest — was completed in 1909. 

The watercourses of the county have also played an important social and 
economic role, though less so recently than in the days when steamboating 
was a major means of transportation. In the late 1880s and early 1890s the 
Blackwater and Chowan rivers were long-established and still busy arteries 
of commerce. The Weyanoke (named the "Black Water" by the early white 
settlers) formed with other streams a 150-mile travel route from its head- 
waters to Durant's Neck and Harvey Point on Albemarle Sound. First the 


Indians' canoes gave way to sailboats. Then sailboats yielded place to steam- 
powered ships, first of which in the Blackwater seems to have been the Bravo, 
which appeared about 1835, close to the time when the steam railroad came 
into existence. The Bravo burned to the water's edge among the river's lily 
pads, but not before it demonstrated the feasibility of the steamboat. The 
operating company replaced it with a larger ship. Leaders in the venture were 
Abram Riddick, a wealthy farmer of Riddicksville, North Carolina; Dr. 
Thomas D. Warren and Edward Wood, of Edenton, North Carolina; and 
Robert Dixon, of Portsmouth. They founded the Albemarle Steam Naviga- 
tion Company in 1840, and it continued until 1929 except for a period of 
interruption during the War between the States. The Fox, the Schultz, the 
Stag and the Curlew were early ships in its service. The Curlew was put into 
service in 1859, and two years later was put into war service, covered with 
black paint and with a cannon mounted on its deck. It was sunk by enemy 
action off Roanoke Island in 1862. The Stag was placed crosswise in the 
river to keep the Federal forces out, being deliberately sunk in thirty feet 
of water. The Emma and the Arrow, from North Carolina, were brought to 
Franklin for safe keeping, but were sunk at their wharf. Later army dredging 
operations removed the wreckage. 

After the war the company was reorganized, and its competitor, the 
Clyde Line, joined in creating considerable river traffic. The ASN steamer 
Nantkoke was brought to this area from Pennsylvania in the summer of 
1907, during the Jamestown Exposition, to haul excursionists from the Sea- 
board terminal in Portsmouth to Pine Beach. Other boats appearing from 
time to time were tugboats and tramp steamers hauling lumber. Today, of 
course, there are still boats on the rivers; but for the most part they have 
given way to the products of the age of gasoline and electricity. 

Agriculture has been dominant among Southampton County's economic 
activities. Back in 1697, fifty years before the county came into being, a 
county surveyor for Isle of Wight and Surry counties, a man named William- 
son, lost his job because he permitted "without authority of the Council" the 
settling of land west of the Blackwater. This land was evidently desirable for 
its fertility. But no settlements are believed to have been established in this 
region before 1710. The original fertility did not last, probably because the 
soil was not properly cared for. By I860, however, agriculture was still the 
major industry, only forty-five persons having been then engaged in other 
commercial enterprises such as cooperage and flour milling. Most of the 
products of the soil were used by county residents for their own needs, and 
no real soil improvement program seemed possible until well along in the 
nineteenth century. At the present time cattle and hog production continues 
at a busy pace, with the hogs feeding the lively Smithfield ham industry; and 
incidentally the Southampton ham is very highly thought of hereabouts, also. 



In 1950 the county had 2,175 farms, some of them of notable size. South- 
ampton County early made use of agricultural agents, and in 1934 an 
appropriation was provided for a Negro farm agent. Excellent relationships 
between white and Negro farm agents and home agents still exist. 

One of the more recent farm products has been peanuts, of commercial 
importance since about 1870. A pioneer in development of the crop was John 
Pretlow, Jr., merchant, planter and landowner of Franklin. He started pro- 

1'j::.,i; Bj^-ClKp Pjper Corp.) 


ducing seed peanuts, formed wide contacts with farmers, and founded Pretlow 
and Company. Perfect nuts brought premium prices, and he did much to 
introduce practices that would produce the perfect nut. He installed on 
his farm machinery for cleaning and preparing peanuts for the market. A 
leading market at the outset was Norfolk, where early buyers of Pretlow 
products were the, Winborne Peanut Company and the American Peanut 
Company. Then sales spread to Philadelphia, Baltimore and elsewhere. One 
of the first cleaning plants was established m Franklin on the site now 
occupied by the Pretlow Peanut Company, Inc. 

On November 21, 1889, a charter was granted to the Farmers Alliance 
Peanut Cleaning and Storage Company, whose president was Carr Beale. 


Prominent farmers were its directors. The Ivor Alliance Cooperative Asso- 
ciation was formed in 1890 for the industrial milling of peanuts. Charters 
were granted to the Courtland Alliance Peanut Cleaning and Storage Com- 
pany in 1891, with Thomas J. Pretlow as its president, as well as to the Ivor 
Alliance Cooperative Association in 1893. The Courtland plant was the site 
on which the Birdsong Storage Company later set up its first peanut milling 

The Farmers Alliance company had financial trouble, and was sold to 
C. C. Vaughan for $1,250. Mr. Vaughan had been engaged in banking 
operations for ten years, organizing the banking house of Vaughan and 
Company, which today has resources of about $8,000,000 and is headed by 
the founder's grandson, C. C. Vaughan, III. On December 1, 1898, the 
original Mr. Vaughan sold the peanut company which he had purchased 
to J. M. Story, who ran it as the Virginia Peanut Company. In August, 1906, 
the Virginia Peanut Company and the Pretlow Peanut Company merged to 
form the Virginia-Pretlow Peanut Company, with J. M. Story as president 
and R. A. Pretlow as secretary and treasurer. In 1912 Mr. Story sold his 
interests, and the enterprise became once more the Pretlow Peanut Company, 
which R. A. Pretlow headed until his death in 1946. The business was sold 
in 1952 to the Birdsongs of Suffolk. Harvard R. Birdsong became its president 
at that time. Another firm which conducts extensive operations in this peanut 
belt is the Columbian Peanut Co., headed by William P. Woodley; this 
company has plants at Wakefield (in neighboring Surry) and at Suffolk, and 
maintains its headquarters in Norfolk. 

Lumber was an early important industry in the county. The Camp Manu- 
facturing Company originally purchased the mill on which their industry is 
based in 1886 from Johnson Neely, whose brother, William Neely, had 
died in 1882. The Neely family's lumber activities date back to 1855, when 
Robert Johnson Neely and William Neely left their home in Bucks County, 
Pennsylvania, to build a sawmill in the South. Near Franklin Depot they 
found the site where they started their business, the R. J. and W. Neely 
Lumber Company. Paul Camp began manufacturing lumber at his own saw- 
mill in 1876, producing 6,000 feet daily. His brother, James L. Camp, en- 
gaged independently in the same field. Later they joined together and 
extended their operations to North Carolina. A third brother, Robert J. Camp, 
was the third officer-founder of the Camp company. 

The Camp activities gradually extended to include pulp and paper op- 
erations, and in 1936 the Chesapeake-Camp Corporation was formed to 
handle the varied undertakings. In 1938, when their pulp and paper mill 
started, it had a capacity of 150 tons per day. New machines were added in 
both the lumber and paper branches until the Camp Manufacturing Com- 
pany, Inc., built up its output to 100,000 feet of lumber and its Paper 


Division was turning out 350 tons of brown and white papers daily in 1935. 
The plant site occupies an area six times the acreage of the original Neely 
purchase in 1855. The enterprise is now merged into giant industrial in- 
terests and is known as the Union Bag-Camp Paper Corporation, producing 
kraft paper, pulp, chemical by-products and lumber. 

Other large industries include the St. Regis Paper Company, makers of 
heavy-duty multi-wall bags; Theo K. Hann & Son, basket manufacturers; the 
Hercules Powder Company, refiners of tall oil and producers of chemical 
processing materials; the Franklin Concrete Products Corporation; and the 
Blackwater Pallet Company. These industries are centered in Franklin. Nearby, 
on Route 58, is Swift and Company's livestock market. Corn, soybeans, pea- 
nuts and cotton continue to be major Southampton County crops, and 
splendid herds of purebred cattle and fine hogs are everywhere to be seen. 

Lovely modern homes have appeared with latter-day industries. What is 
now Franklin Airport was formerly a naval auxiliary airfield. Greatly en- 
larged during World War II, it is currently leased to a private operator by 
the town of Franklin. It actually lies in Isle of Wight County, about one and 
one-half miles beyond the town's eastern corporate limits. Blackwater River 
shipping today is mainly concerned with lumber, pulp and paper. 

The county has given soldiers and sailors to two world wars in recent 
decades, and its industries and farms have performed invaluable services in 
war and peace. Southampton County sons who laid down their lives in the 
country's cause in World War II were: 

Bailey, Spurgeon W., Cpl., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. T. Bailey, Franklin 
BiLLUPS, James Robert. (See Isle of Wight County) 
Bridges, Glenn, T/5, A. Mother, Mrs. Lelia W. Bridges, Franklin 
Callahan, John Joseph, Jr., MoMM2c, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. John 

Joseph Callahan, Sr., Franklin 
Close, Winder L., Pfc, A. Father, William K. Close, Sedley 
Darden, Alfred C, Jr., 1st Lt., A. 

Ellsworth, Wallace F., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Mary Ellsworth, Sedley 
Frankfort, Wynans Ellis, Lt. A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Frankfort, 

Holland, James W., Pvt., A. Brother, Homer H. Holland, Franklin 
HoLLOWAY, Andrew L., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Addie Holloway, Ivor 
Holt, Charlie Bernard, Sic, N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herman F. Holt, 


(Also Petersburg City) 
Jackson, John Washe, StM2c, N. Father, Allison J. Jackson, Capron 
Janssen, Rufus J., Pfc, M. Mother, Mrs. Neta Stewart Franklin 



Jenkins, William Jimmie, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Mary Alice Jenkins, 

Johnson, Alvin R., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Emma Johnson, Boykins 
Johnson, James E., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Eddie Johnson, Branchville 
Knight, James Alexander, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Annie D. Knight, Boykins 

(Also Greensville County) 
Mabry, Joseph Lee, Pfc, A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Mabry, Franklin 
Marks, Henry E., Jr., 2nd Lt., A. Mother, Mrs. Ethel D. Marks, Courtland 
Mason, James H., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Eddie Mason, Franklin 
Newsome, Leon McKinley, Sic, N. Father, William Newsome, Franklin 
Newsome, LiNwooD T., T/Sgt., A. 
Nichols, Walter G., Pfc, A. 
PiTTMAN, Hugh Osborne. (See Richmond City) 
Raiford, Harold E., T/Sgt., A. 

RiDEOUT, Franklin G., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Ella W. Rideout, Boykins 
Rogers, Olden D., Sr., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Bessie Davis Rogers, Courtland 
Sykes, Rufus, Cpl., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Sykes, Adams Grove 
ViCK, Elias R., Jr., Capt., A. Father, Elmer R. Vick, Branchville 
Wheeler, William J., Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Bessie C. Wheeler, Handsom 
Whitby, Albert L., Pvt., A. Wife, Mrs. Nellie M. Whitby, Sedley 
Whitehead, Jordan Walter, Jr., S2c, N. Mother, Mrs. Bettie Whitehead, 

Whitfield, Elliott K., Lt., A. Father, Charles F. Whitfield, Franklin 
Wiggins, Joe Darden, S/Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Edna Brandt Wiggins, Hunts- 

ville, Alabama 
Wood, Layton Osbon, Jr., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Grace M. Wood, Franklin 
(Also Albemarle County) 

The present Southampton County is one of the larger southside counties, 
having an area of 604 square miles. It is bounded on the northwest by Surry 
and Sussex counties, on the west by Greensville County, and on the east by 
Isle of Wight and Nansemond. Its southern boundary is the North Carolina 
state line. Its marl beds contain fossils and shells indicating that it was once 
covered by ocean waters. The 1950 census gave the county a population of 
26,474, a gain of 32 during the decade. There are seven incorporated towns — 
Franklin, Courtland, Boykins, Branchville, Capron, Ivor and Newsoms. 

An active civic organization is the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, or- 
ganized in 1953. Franklin has had a town manager form of government since 
1922, this form replacing the earlier mayor-and-council type of organization. 
Local social groups include the Young Men's Christian Association, and 
recreational activities include fishing, boating and hunting. Ponds in the 



vicinity are well stocked with fish, and the woodlands abound with deer, 
wild turkeys, quail, rabbits and squirrels. The Franklin Library Association 
has more than 6,000 books. At Carrsville, five miles east of Franklin, there 
is a popular drive-in movie. Other communities not already mentioned in- 


elude Maury, Dory, Berlin, Unity, Vicksville, Sedley, Burdette, Sebrell, Joyner, 
Adams Grove, DrewryviUe, Pope, Handsom and Sunbeam. Except for Frank- 
lin, the seven towns have populations of less than 1,000. 

Many distinguished citizens have been mentioned. One of those of whom 
the county is proudest was John Y. Mason, Congressman, United States 
District Judge, tu'ice Secretary of the Navy, United States Attorney General 
and Minister to France. With James Buchanan, United States Ambassador 
to Great Britain, and Pierre Soule, Minister to Spain, he took part in drawing 
up the Ostend Manifesto in 1854, outlining the value of Cuba to the United 
States and the country's need to acquire that island, and declaring that if 
Spain would not sell it the United States would seize it by force. The United 
States Government disavowed the manifesto, probably because anti-slavery 
forces feared another slave state. Mason died in Paris on October 3, 1859, 
too soon to witness the war over the slavery issue which he had helped to 


Another famous Virginian is the Hon. Colgate W. Darden, Jr., a former 
Governor and Congressman, who was born and reared in Southampton 
County; he recently announced his retirement as president of the University 
of Virginia. His brother, J. Pretlow Darden is an automobile dealer and 
former mayor of Norfolk. 

As elsewhere in Tidewater Virginia, past and present are blended in 
Southampton County. Views of the countryside quickly recall to old-timers the 
life of a simpler and statelier period. But everywhere are signs of industry 
and commercial progress, which place present and past and more distant past 
layer over layer before the eyes of the present-day observer. These layers, 
like veils which removed reveal the truth, depict the story of Southampton 
County like a vision to the intelligent citizen with eyes open and mind awake. 

References on Chapter XXIX 

The Tidewater News, Franklin, Va., Golden Anniversary Historical Edition, October 20, 1905. 

Henning MacLemore, Historical Sketch of Southampton County. 

Edgar B. Jackson, "Southampton County Enters Third Century," Virginia and the Virginia County, 
September 1950, pp. 16-17, 42-43. 

Franklin, Virginia, leaflet issued by Chamber of Commerce, Franklin, Va., 1958. 

Franklin (Southampton County, Va.) City Directory, Hill Directory Company, Inc., Richmond, Va., 

Economic Data, Southampton County, Virginia, Division of Planning and Development, 1951. 

Robinson, Virginia Counties. 

Hening, Statutes at Large. 

Edward Lewis Godwin, The Colonial Church in Virginia, Milwaukee and London, 1927. 

Sketch and map of Southampton County, Va., 1888. 

Boddie, Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Va. 

Gold Star Honor Roll of Virginians in the Second World War, edited by W. Edwin Hemphill, 
Virginia World War II History Commission, Charlottesville, Va., 1957. 

Chapter XXX 

Search for the Chesapeake: The Roanoke Island Colonies 


By Marvin W . Schlegel 

IT WAS NOT mere chance that the first successful English colony took 
root in Tidewater Virginia. Nature had shaped it into the most favorable 
spot along the Atlantic coast of North America for the development 
of a prosperous settlement. The tributaries of the Chesapeake formed an 
ideal network of waterways in an age when land transportation was difficult 
and expensive, and its many harbors offered shelter from the ocean storms 
for all the fleets of the world. The climate of the region, extreme and im- 
moderate as it appeared to persons accustomed to the more equable seasons 
of Europe, was still as mild as America could afford and was adapted to 
producing at least one of the commodities Europe desired, even if it could 
not provide the crops England expected to grow there. Moreover, the wide 
gap the mouth of the bay made in the shoreline offered a tempting prospect 
to early explorers, ever on the alert for any easy passage through the 
unknown continent into the Pacific. 

The settlement of the Chesapeake, however, was to remain long delayed 
because of the surprising difficulty the first discoverers of the coast had in 
finding the bay. Just half a dozen years after Christopher Columbus had 
made his first voyage to the New World, when John Cabot sailed out of 
Bristol in search of the Pacific, he followed the American coast south- 
ward from Labrador and would have been the first European to set eyes 
upon the Chesapeake, but he decided to abandon his quest while he was still 
a hundred miles north of Cape Charles. Twenty-six years later, when Giovanni 
de Verrazano tried to find the northwest passage for the king of France, he 
likewise managed to miss the Chesapeake. Spanish explorers may have heard 
about the bay from the Indians about this time, as a Spanish map of 1529 
shows the "Bahia de Santa Maria" — the name later applied to the Chesapeake 
—but, since the map shows it in the wrong location and in the wrong shape, 
Spanish knowledge of it must have been meager.^ 

The earliest European entry into the bay which can be definitely estab- 
lished came in 1546 when an English privateer blown off its course found 
shelter in "a very good harbor" at 37° latitude, unmistakably the Chesapeake. 

Va. 2—20 


The English sailors, however, did not consider their disco%'ery worth re- 
porting back home, and it would have been completely forgotten, had it not 
been for one of the cabin boys, a lad named John, from Bristol. Many years 
later, in 1560, he was one of a group of sailors who came ashore in Yucatan 
and were duly brought before the Spanish officials for questioning. The 
viceroy of New Spain, Don Luis de Velasco, was very much interested in 
John's report and sent ships out to search for the bay.- 

One of these ships — the records unfortunately tell us nothing of the 
expedition — brought back to Mexico an Indian youth who belonged to the 
family of the great chief Powhatan, if indeed he was not Powhatan himself. 
He was instructed in the Christian religion by Dominican friars and baptised 
with the name of the viceroy. After the Spaniards had established them- 
selves on the Florida coast at St. Augustine in 1565, the Spanish commander 
there, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, decided to use the Indian Don Luis to 
extend the influence of the Spanish king and the Catholic Church to the 
Chesapeake. In 1566 Don Luis attempted to guide two Dominicans back to 
his homeland but ended up in Spain instead after he failed to find the bay.^ 

Back in America once more, Don Luis inspired the Jesuits to take up the 
task left undone by the Dominicans. Convinced by the Indian that the Chesa- 
peake savages would welcome salvation, Father Juan Baptista de Segura, 
vice-provincial of the order in Florida, set out for the bay with eight col- 
leagues and Don Luis and arrived there early in September 1570. With Don 
Luis as guide, the priests went up the James as far as College Creek, where 
they crossed to the York River and there set up a board hut to serve as 
lodging and chapel, the first Christian church in Virginia. Scarcely had the 
ships which had brought them sailed beyond the capes, however, before the 
fathers had reason to regret their rashness in placing so much faith in their 
Indian convert. Back among his own people, Don Luis soon forgot his newly- 
acquired civilization and left the mission to live in another village. There he 
horrified the Jesuits even more by reverting to the Indian custom of polygamy. 
When the fathers kept demanding that he drop his un-Christian way of life 
and return to the mission, Don Luis decided to end this interference with 
his freedom. In February 1571 Don Luis and his friends set upon the Jesuits 
and murdered them; only a boy, Alonso de Olmos, was spared from the 
slaughter and thus survived to tell the story.* 

A year later Menendez came up from St. Augustine on a punitive expedi- 
tion. Although he could not lay hands on Don Luis, he did capture a number 
of Indians and convicted eight of them of having taken part in the murder. 
All of them were hanged, after they had been baptized by the Jesuits who 
had come with Menendez. Then, taking with them the liberated Alonso, the 
Spaniards sailed back to St. Augustine, abandoning the Chesapeake to the 


The Spanish failure to occupy this strategically-located bay was to have 
fateful consequences for the future of North America, but it had no im- 
mediate effects. The haphazard communications of the sixteenth century kept 
any knowledge of the Spanish exploration from reaching England, even 
though the English were about to search for just such a good harbor as a 
base for their privateering ventures against the Spanish treasure fleet. The 
need for a naval base was, of course, only one of the many motives urging 
on the English plans for colonization of the New World. Profit was expected 
from the discovery of the northwest passage to the Far East, from gold mines, 
from trade with the Indians, and from the production of tropical crops; 
moreover, a successful venture across the Atlantic would redound to the 
greater glory of England. 

These were the arguments advanced by the two Richard Hakluyts, self- 
appointed propagandists of American colonization, and they gained urgency 
as England's undeclared war with Spain became more intense in the 1580's, 
emphasizing the value of a trans-Atlantic naval base. Several exploratory 
voyages were undertaken in search of a site for a colony, the best-known being 
the one led by Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1583, which resulted in his death in 
a storm on the way home. Undaunted by this disaster, the English redoubled 
their efforts. Early in 1584, Gilbert's half-brother, Walter Raleigh, obtained 
from Queen Elizabeth I a new patent for a colony in North America to 
replace the expiring grant made to Gilbert six years before. While the ink 
was still drying on the patent, Raleigh dispatched two ships under the com- 
mand of Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe to renew the search for a 
suitable location. 

Unlike Gilbert, who had followed John Cabot's route across the North 
Atlantic to Newfoundland, Amadas and Barlowe in 1584 headed south to 
the Canaries and crossed from there to the West Indies. Here they took on 
fresh food and water and then sailed northeast to look for a convenient 
harbor. The first land they sighted was the Carolina Banks, which they took 
for the continent. After coasting along the Banks for days, their Portuguese 
pilot, Simon Fernandez, discovered a shallow inlet, which the ships managed 
to enter on July 13. This apparent good luck was to set back English 
colonization twenty years, for it kept the captains from continuing their 
explorations to the north, where they would have found the Chesapeake. 

As it was, Amadas and Barlowe decided to ignore the difficulties they had 
encountered in getting through the inlet and to explore the broad sound in 
which they found themselves for a site for the proposed colony. What they 
saw aroused their enthusiasm, according to the report Captain Barlowe later 
made to Raleigh. Even the Banks delighted Barlow; there, he declared, were 
"the highest and reddest Cedars of the world," with game animals "in in- 
credible aboundance " and so many grapes "that I thinke in all the world 


the like aboundance is not to be found." "The soile," he added, "is the 
most plentiful!, sweete, fniitfull, and wholesome of all the world."" 

The inhabitants of this land of plenty seemed friendly and hospitable; in 
Barlow's opinion, they were "most gentle, louing, and faithfuU, void of all 
guile, and treason, and such as liued after the manner of the golden age."'' 
The first Indian they met was so pleased with the gifts they gave him that 
he went out and caught a boatload of fish to present in exchange, and others 
brought in deer hides, buffalo skins, and pearls to offer in trade. Barlowe and 
several others visited an Indian queen on an island which was called "Roan- 
oak," and the red-skinned lady entertained them with true Southern hos- 
pitality, drying their wet clothes, giving them a lavish dinner, and inviting 
them to spend the night, although not even the trustful Barlowe dared to go 
to sleep in the midst of the savages. 

In spite of their complete ignorance of the native language, the explorers 
were able to pick up a good deal of information about the region from the 
Indians. The difficulty in communications created some inevitable misunder- 
standings. When one of the redskins was asked the name of the country, the 
Englishmen carefully recorded his answer, "Wingandacoa." It was not until 
much later that they learned that the savage had merely been expressing his 
admiration for their clothes. Well satisfied with their brief exploration of 
the sounds, Amadas and Barlowe departed for home, taking with them two 
natives, named Manteo and Wanchese, who were interested in exploring the 
Old World, and arrived in England in the middle of September 1584. 

The enthusiastic reports the captains brought back persuaded Raleigh to 
attempt to settle a colony on Roanoke Island. Such a venture required more 
capital than Raleigh could supply himself, wealthy as the queen's favor had 
already made him, and he set out to enlist partners. Manteo and Wanchese, 
the first Indians ever seen in England, made excellent advertising for the 
enterprise. Having exchanged their deerskin mantles for English brown taffeta 
and learned a few words of English, they were shown off to prospective 
adventurers. In order to add the endorsement of Parliament to his project, 
he had a bill introduced to confirm the queen's patent. Although this bill 
was quietly dropped when the House of Commons placed a few unwelcome 
restrictions on Raleigh's powers, it helped Raleigh to win the support he 

The most important of Raleigh's partners was the queen herself. Elizabeth 
showed her approval by making him a knight and allowing him to name the 
new country Virginia in honor of her. More important, she lent him one of 
her ships, the Tiger, and furnished the gunpowder for the expedition. She 
also authorized him to impress both men and ships if he should need them. 
Similar powers were granted to Sir Francis Drake, who was scheduled to 


follow Raleigh with another expedition, raiding the Spanish Main for sup- 
plies for the new Virginia colony as well as for personal profit. 

England was a-bustle in the early months of 1585, as preparations for the 
twin ventures went forward. Richard Hakluyt furnished Raleigh his expert 
advice and from his post as chaplain at the Paris embassy forwarded every 
scrap of information he could lay his hand on. At his suggestion men with 
special skills were enlisted to bring back more precise data about the possi- 
bilities of the country. A Jewish mining expert from Prague, named Joachim 
Ganz, was retained to investigate mineral prospects. From Raleigh's own 
household went Thomas Hariot, mathematician, astronomer, and all-round 
scientist, who had already been learning the Indian tongue from Manteo 
and Wanchese. A veteran of the 1584 voyage, John White, was assigned the 
task of bringing back pictures of the New World, an assignment he was to 
fulfill with great skill. Other members of the 1584 expedition, including 
Amadas, Barlowe, and the Portuguese pilot, likewise went along to contribute 
their experience. At the queen's request Ralph Lane was released from mili- 
tary service in Ireland to accompany the settlers. The entire fleet was placed 
under the command of Raleigh's cousin. Sir Richard Grenville. 

As the vessels gathered in Plymouth, it was decided to sail on April 9 
with those that were ready, leaving the rest to follow in a second expedition 
at a later date. In all there were about 600 men, more than half intending 
to remain as colonists, aboard five ships, not counting the two small pinnaces 
which were towed by two of the larger vessels. Flagship of the squadron 
was the queen's Tiger, carrying Grenville as "general" and Simon Fernandez 
as master pilot. Following the usual course south to the Canaries, the fleet 
was scattered by a storm off the coast of Portugal. The Tiger lost the pinnace 
she was towing but made her way alone to the West Indies, where she was 
later joined by the Elizabeth, captained by Thomas Cavendish, who as high 
marshal ranked second after Grenville.'' 

Grenville lingered a month in the islands, building a new pinnace to re- 
place the one lost in the storm and capturing a couple of Spanish vessels that 
fell into his hands. He converted his prizes into provisions for the colony by 
selling the captured cargoes to other Spaniards in exchange for livestock 
and food. Ralph Lane, who as lieutenant general was the third-ranking officer 
of the expedition, was sent off with a small party to gather salt. Alarmed by 
the unexpected arrival of a group of Spanish soldiers, even though they did 
not attack him, Lane on his return criticized Grenville violently for placing 
him in such a dangerous situation. Trouble had been brewing for some 
time between the two men, each of whom was hot-tempered and accustomed 
to having his own way. Lane apparently was critical of Grenville's privateer- 
ing, which he thought was wasting valuable time by delaying the start of the 


colony. Lane escaped a court-martial, probably because the other officials 
sided with him, but he never forgave Grenville. 

At length Grenville headed north with his ships, now numbering five 
with the addition of the new pinnace and the two Spanish prizes, and on 
June 20 sighted the mainland for the first time. Six days later they found an 
inlet, called Wococon by the Indians, at the southern end of Pamlico Sound, 
and decided to enter the sound there. This proved to be a disastrous decision, 
for the Tiger grounded on the shoal and was almost broken up. Although 
the men managed to get the ship afloat again after two hours and safely 
beached, many of the supplies needed for the colony were damaged or 

This loss was in part redeemed by the discovery of the other ships which 
had sailed out of Plymouth, missing since the April storm. On July 6 a 
party was sent north along the coast and on Croatoan, the next island north, 
they found two men who had been put ashore there by Captain George 
Raymond of the L/a>i about three weeks before. These men had been landed 
with thirty others to take care of themselves, since the Lion had been running 
short of supplies; in fact, the L/o>! had already dumped twenty passengers 
on an uninhabited shore in Jamaica. About the same time, it was learned 
that the Roebuck and probably the fifth vessel, the little Dorothy, had also 
arrived and were waiting for Grenville. 

While the Tiger was being repaired and refloated so that it could be taken 
on up the coast, Grenville decided to use the time required for the con- 
struction to explore Pamlico Sound. On July 11 he set out on a week-long 
trip in four boats, the largest being the pinnace built in the West Indies and 
visited several Indian villages along the shores of the sound and in Pamlico 
River. While John White industriously sketched pictures of the savages and 
their homes, the natives hospitably entertained their guests, and the visitors 
in turn distributed suitable presents. One little Indian girl delightedly clutched 
a doll dressed in the height of European fashion, and John White promptly 
recorded this meeting of the two worlds.^" The only incident marring this 
idyllic voyage occurred at the town of Aquascogoc, where one of the Indians 
showed as little consideration for English property rights as the English did 
for the Spaniards' and made ofi^ with a silver cup. When the English de- 
manded restitution, the embarrassed chieftain promised to see that the cup 
was returned. Amadas came back a few days later to find the cup still missing 
and the frightened savages gone as well; he therefore demonstrated the 
danger of defying English authority by burning the town and destroying 
the crops in the field. 

Before the end of July the Tiger was afloat once more and on its way up 
to Roanoke Island. Granganimeo, brother of the local chief, Wingina, came 
aboard to welcome them and invited them to build their fort beside his 


village on the island. This friendly invitation was accepted, and the fort was 
completed early in September. Meanwhile, there seems to have been some 
difference of opinion over the desirability of remaining in Virginia, since 
the safest inlet, Port Ferdinando, had a clearance of only twelve feet over 
the bar at high tide. Grenville, remembering his dangerous experience with 
the Tiger, decided to go back to England, while his enemy Lane decided to 
remain as commander of the fort. A hundred others agreed to stay with Lane. 

Lane was as enthusiastic over the prospects of the colony as Barlowe had 
been a year earlier. In letters written home he optimistically predicted that 
Virginia could supply wines, oil, flax, rosin, frankincense, currants, sugars, 
and "sundry other rich commodities." The people, he wrote, are "naturally 
most curteous," and the country itself he called "the goodliest and most 
pleasing territorie of the world." He praised the climate, scarcely mentioning 
the summer heat. Even the unsatisfactory harbors were converted into an 
advantage, since they would make it difficult for the Spaniards to attack 
the settlement." 

After the last ships had sailed for England, however. Lane's optimism 
began to wane. Since the only account of this first winter spent by Englishmen 
on American soil is Lane's own report, which was naturally intended to make 
both Lane and the colony look good. Lane's difficulties must be found be- 
tween the lines of his narrative. His feeble excuses for his failure to conduct 
any explorations during the winter indicate his troubles in controlling his 
men, who must have complained about the climate, the isolation, and Lane's 
iron discipline, and he admitted running short of food, in spite of all the 
supplies obtained in the West Indies, and having trouble with the Indians. 

The one exploration which was carried out Lane also failed to describe, 
even though it brought about the first English knowledge of the Chesapeake. 
The story of this expedition must be largely conjecture, but it may be assumed 
that it was commanded by Philip Amadas, who had been in charge of the 
exploration of Albemarle Sound in August, and that he took the double 
wherry, a four-oared Thames River boat, capable of carrying about twenty 
men, brought along especially for this purpose, since Lane reports that he 
did not have this boat during the winter. If Amadas did not take the pinnace, 
he must have gone up to the head of the sound and then proceeded overland 
to Lynnhaven Bay, where the Chesepiuc tribe was located. Whether the 
party went by sea or by the inland route, their venture was a daring one, as 
they could not have taken many supplies along and must have had to rely 
on the friendship of the Indians. Fortunately, the Chesapeake tribes were hos- 
pitable as well as curious, and chiefs of neighboring villages came to visit 
"the Colonic of the English, which I had for a time appointed to be resident 
there," as Lane described it. 

One reason the small group was willing to make this bold journey to the 


Chesapeake was the great fear the EngHsh had inspired among the savages, 
who believed that they were immortal and had power to strike their enemies 
dead over vast distances, a belief confirmed by disease which seemed to 
follow in the wake of the English travelers. This fear, however, was grad- 
ually overpowered during the winter by the even greater threat of starvation, 
as Lane demanded a share of the Indians' scanty supplies of corn. At the 
first arrival of the colonists, the Indians, having plenty of food and little 
copper, had been happy to sell them food. By mid-winter, unfortunately, the 
situation was reversed. The Indians, having plenty of copper and little food, 
stopped trading, and Lane demanded that they supply him with food. With 
the death of Granganimeo, the good friend of the English, the situation be- 
came more critical for them. 

Wingina now hit upon a clever scheme to get rid of his importunate 
neighbors by getting them involved in a war with several tribes living some 
distance to the north, on the shores of Albemarle Sound. He sent word to 
these mainland tribes that Lane was preparing to attack them, while he told 
Lane that the savages were forming a confederacy against him. Lane's bold 
action frustrated this plan. Taking with him forty men, he sailed north through 
Albemarle Sound and up the Chowan river to Chawanoac, where an Indian 
assembly was being held. His sudden appearance overawed the Indians, who 
promptly abandoned whatever hostile intentions they had and entered into 
a league of alliance with him. Lane held the lame Chawanoac chieftain, 
Menatonon, prisoner for two days, later exchanging him for his son, Skyko, 
who was sent to Roanoke Island as a hostage. 

Lane found Menatonon a very wise man but never suspected how shrewd 
he really was, for the Indian told him a couple of stories calculated to appeal 
to English cupidity and lure his captors on to possible death. One was a tale 
of pearls to be found to the north in a region which Lane did not recognize 
as the Chesapeake; the other was an account of a fabulous mine to be found 
to the west, up Roanoke River. Lane and his men decided to search for the 
mine, proceeding up the river through the territory of his new allies. Instead 
of welcoming him, however, the savages took to the woods with their corn, 
and after three days of rowing upstream he had food left for only two more 
days. Asked for their decision, the men voted to go ahead, regardless of the 
food situation, but two days more brought only a flight of arrows from some 
invisible Indians, who escaped into the woods. At this point the boats headed 
back downstream, the men living off stewed dogs and sassafras soup until 
they reached Roanoke Island. 

The safe return of Lane's party from what Wingina had expected to be 
certain destruction temporarily restored the Indians' belief in the supernatural 
powers of the English. This belief was strengthened a few days later when 
delegates arrived from another Indian village to take their oath of allegiance 


to Queen Elizabeth. As a result, the frightened savages tried to win the 
friendship of the English by constructing weirs to supply them with fish and 
planting corn fields for them. Unfortunately, the death of old Ensenore, a 
relative of Wingina's who had been favorable to the English, caused another 
shift in Indian policy. Growing tired of Lane's daily requests for food, which 
he was afraid to deny, Wingina withdrew to the mainland and devised 
another plot for getting rid of the English, inspired in part by Wanchese, 
who seems to have been jealous of the favor shown Manteo. 

The first step in the plot was the breaking up of the Englishmen's weirs 
to deprive them of food, since the colonists were incapable of repairing them 
themselves. This stratagem succeeded in dividing Lane's forces, as he was 
compelled to send twenty of his men down to Croatoan Island to live there 
and incidentally watch for the expected supply ships; another ten were sent 
with the pinnace to Port Ferdinando for the same purpose. Wingina next sent 
messengers to the neighboring tribes, offering them part of his accumulated 
horde of copper in exchange for their aid against the English. When the 
Indians had assembled, ostensibly to attend a funeral service for Ensenore, 
the attack was to be launched in typical Indian fashion. The savages planned 
to slip up at night and set fire to the thatched roofs of the English huts and 
slay the colonists as they came running out. 

The conspiracy might have succeeded had it not been for Skiko, Mena- 
tonon's son. On an earlier occasion Skiko had attempted to run away, where- 
upon Lane had chained him up and threatened to cut oif his head until 
Wingina interceded for him. After the boy was released, he was allowed to 
visit Wingina, who took him into his confidence and revealed the plot. Skiko 
had by now, however, grown so friendly with the English that he came back 
to the island and informed Lane of Wingina's plans. 

Forewarned, Lane decided to meet treachery with treachery. To lull 
Wingina's suspicions, he sent the chief a message asking to borrow some 
of his men for a fishing trip to Croatoan Island. Wingina promised to come 
over to Roanoke Island himself to discuss the arrangements, but put off his 
coming day by day in order to wait for the arrival of his savage allies. When 
news that the other Indians were beginning to appear reached Lane, the 
Englishman decided to attack. His intention was to wipe out the town on 
the island by an assault under the cover of darkness before going over to the 
mainland to slaughter Wingina. As a preliminary he prepared to isolate the 
island by seizing all the canoes to keep anyone from escaping to the main- 
land and giving the alarm. In the process of intercepting the canoes, the 
English overturned one of them and then, having picked the two Indians 
in the boat out of the water, they cut off their heads. Unfortunately, some 
other red men observed this incident from the shore and let loose a flight of 
arrows in retaliation. Although the Indians were quickly driven into the woods 


by the return fire of the English, Wingina now had notice that hostilities 
had begun. 

Undaunted by this miscarriage of his plans, Lane decided to go ahead as 
if nothing had happened. Next morning he and some twenty-five of his men 
made an apparently peaceful call on Wingina, ostensibly to ask him to go 
along on the proposed trip to Croatoan. When the English visitors had been 
shown into the presence of the savage chieftain and his followers, Lane called 
out, "Christ our victory," whereupon the English drew their pieces and shot 
down the unsuspecting Indians. Wingina fell at the first shot but in the midst 
of the general confusion which followed leaped to his feet and ran nimbly 
off into the woods. Lane's Irish servant, Edward Nugent, chased after him, 
however, and soon returned carrying the chief's head.'- With the Indian 
menace thus crushed and the corn ripening on Roanoke Island with enough 
grain to feed the colonists for a year, the colony was at last on a firm founda- 
tion. Although Lane had accomplished nothing positive, he had kept his 
men alive for a year, and mastery of the art of survival was the first step in 
colonization of the New World. Moreover, Lane could now look forward to 
his great plans for exploration of the mines in the interior and the pearl 
country of the Chesapeake. There was only one question: Where were the 
supply ships that Raleigh was supposed to send? 

Lane's question was to go unanswered until it was too late. The ships that 
Raleigh had intended to send immediately after Grenville's departure never 
set sail. At least one of them, the Golden Royal, was still being prepared for 
the voyage to Virginia as late as June, 1585, two months after Grenville's 
fleet had left Plymouth. About that time, however, news had reached England 
that Spain had laid an embargo on English shipping, and the queen in- 
structed Raleigh to send a warning to the English fishermen off Newfoundland 
not to take their catch to Spain. Raleigh was forced to divert the Golden Royal 
from Virginia to Newfoundland for this purpose. Since Newfoundland offered 
far less promise for privateering than the West Indies, Elizabeth assigned 
Raleigh her share in the Golden Royal to make up in part for the financial 
loss he was expected to suffer. 

The queen must have regretted her generosity, for the venture proved far 
more profitable than expected. On the way out the Golden Royal captured a 
ship from Brazil loaded with sugar and picked up seventeen Spanish vessels 
loaded with fish off Newfoundland. There it met Captain George Raymond 
in the Lion, on his way home from Virginia, and the two ships headed for 
the Azores, where they took four more prizes. Altogether the prizes netted 
more than £20,000, most of which seems to have ended up in Raleigh's 
pocket. One of the partners in the venture, at least, claimed that he was 
cheated out of his share of the profits." 

Meanwhile, Raleigh had also earned a substantial profit on the Virginia 


enterprise with tlie aid of some more sharp deahng. Shortly after GrenviUe 
had sailed from Roanoke Island, he had run into a Spanish vessel, which 
turned out to be the Santa Maria, the flagship of the Santo Domingo squadron, 
which had been separated from the rest of the fleet. The doughty captain 
soon forced the Spaniard to surrender and boarded her in the only boat he 
had, an emergency craft nailed together out of the sailors' sea chests. The 
improvised boat held together just long enough for GrenviUe and his prize 
crew to get aboard and then collapsed. The Englishmen did not bother to 
watch its fate, for they discovered that they had taken a fabulously rich 
prize, loaded with gold, silver, and pearls, not to mention sugar and ginger, 
worth in all about £50,000. The Tiger got home first with the news, and, 
when GrenviUe brought his prize into Plymouth on October 18, 1585, Raleigh 
was there to meet him. 

The two cousins apparently decided that there was no reason to share 
all this good fortune with the other investors. At any rate, a few days later 
GrenviUe was writing to Sir Francis Walsingham, one of the partners in the 
enterprise, warning him not to believe the tall stories circulating about the 
wealth on the Santa Aiaria. The treasure aboard, he said, "was imbesiled 
by the company" — which was true, strictly speaking, since GrenviUe was a 
member of the company. The ship was worth no more than £15,000, he re- 
ported, but there would be enough to pay off the entire cost of the expedition 
and return a modest profit on the investment. Walsingham's reply is not on 
record, but it is significant that he never again served as Raleigh's partner. 
The queen was too shrewd to be defrauded, however; Raleigh later com- 
plained that she insisted on having all the pearls as her share of the specially 
reserved profits.^* 

Even without these private spoils, Raleigh's Virginia venture had paid off 
handsomely, and he could well afford to keep it going. He began preparing 
a supply ship, but he could not get it ready until early in April. A month 
later Sir Richard GrenviUe followed with a squadron of six or seven ships. 
Even though he was late in getting started, GrenviUe could not resist stopping 
to take the prizes he encountered as he approached Spain, but he tried to 
make up for this delay by taking a short-cut, going only as far south as the 
Madeiras and turning there to go directly to Virginia. 

Raleigh and GrenviUe had little reason to be in a hurry to get supplies 
to the colony, since they probably knew that Sir Francis Drake expected to 
reach Virginia before they could get there. Drake had sailed from Plymouth 
in September, 1584, an ambitious project in his head worthy of the vision 
of an Elizabethan Englishman. In addition to filling the Spanish hearts with 
fear and his own pockets with gold, he planned to penetrate to the far 
corner of the Caribbean to capture Cartagena, fight his way across the Isthmus 
of Panama, and establish there an English naval base on the Pacific to match 


the one Raleigh was setting up on the Atlantic. He took with him supplies 
for his proposed colony, including parts for small ships which could be 
carried across the isthmus and set up on the other side to float on the Pacific. 
At Santo Domingo and Cartagena he collected settlers for his project, Moorish 
galley slaves, Negro slaves, and South American Indians." 

When sickness weakened his force, however, Drake decided to abandon 
the plans for the Pacific base and to use his prospective colonists to strengthen 
Raleigh's outpost instead. On the way north he stopped off at St. Augustine 
in Florida to destroy that Spanish town thoroughly while the frightened in- 
habitants took refuge in the woods. Everything that he could carry, down 
to the locks on the doors of the houses, he stripped off for the use of the 
colony in Virginia. At last on June 8, 1586, his ships appeared off Cape 
Hatteras with their dark-skinned reinforcements and extra hardware. 

Captain Edward Stafford, stationed on Croatoan Island, saw his sails and, 
not knowing whether the fleet was English or Spanish, dispatched a warning 
to Lane at Roanoke. Meanwhile, Drake, discovering Stafford's fires, sent a 
boat ashore and picked up a pilot to take him to Port Ferdinando, where he 
arrived on June 10. Not trusting the dangerous bar in the inlet, Drake an- 
chored his larger ships two miles off shore and from there sent word to Lane 
of what he had brought for the colony. 

Lane was not interested in Drake's offer of more Indians, since he had 
already seen enough Indians for a while; moreover, he had decided to abandon 
Roanoke Island and its "bad harborough." What he wanted was to redeem 
his failure to find anything worthwhile by carrying out his plan of exploring 
the Chesapeake as a site for settlement before returning to England. He 
therefore asked Drake for what he needed for the proposed expedition: 
replacements for those of his men who were sick or unfit, adequate shipping, 
weapons, clothing, and sufficient food to last them until they could get back 
to England after spending the summer in the Chesapeake. 

Lane was almost the only man left at Roanoke who wanted to stay any 
longer in Virginia. His soldiers had been cursing the climate, the diet, the 
hardships, the Indians, and Lane's strict discipline, and were eager to leave 
immediately. This discontent seems to have spread even among his officers, 
for Drake was apparently aware of it and promptly off^ered him the choice 
of going back to England, evidently expecting him to discuss this idea with 
his captains, as Drake always did. Lane did not call a council, however, but 
himself made the decision to accept Drake's alternative: the bark Francis, 
small enough to get in over the bar, together with another pinnace and 
several smaller boats and food enough for a month's exploration. By June 12 
the Francis was provisioned, and some of Lane's own officers were aboard 
with their men, as well as the sea captains from Drake's fleet who had 
volunteered to stay in Virginia. 


The next day, however, a hurricane arrived, threatening the safety of 
Drake's fleet, riding at anchor in the open sea. Anchors would not hold 
against the storm, and the Francis, along with several other ships, was driven 
out to sea, so far that she did not return and went on to England. When 
after four days the storm had passed, Drake was still willing to leave one 
of his ships for Lane's exploration, but the ship he offered was too large 
to get in over the bar. Even Lane was beginning to give up on Virginia by 
this moment, and he at last held a council to decide what was to be done. 
The vote was unanimous in favor of immediate departure, in view of the 
fact that Drake could not spare them a suitable vessel and that GrenviUe 
apparently was not coming with the expected supplies. 

Lane therefore with some reluctance gave up his hopes of exploring the 
Chesapeake and asked Drake to take his men home. Drake's sailors, already 
irritable after ten months at sea, had by now grown as disgusted with Virginia 
in ten days as the Roanoke colonists had in a year. Sent to the island to pick 
up the belongings left there, they loaded their pinnaces so heavily that they 
stuck on the shoals in the sound and then threw the baggage over the side 
to lighten the ships. Lane lost his journals, Hariot the specimens he had 
collected; Hariot also mourned a pearl necklace he had assembled for the 
pearl-loving queen, which went into the sound along with a string of black 
pearls that Lane had received from Menatonon. Too impatient to wait for 
the return of three colonists who had gone up into the country, possibly to 
take Skiko home, the ships set sail on June 18. Heading for Newfoundland, 
they passed the Chesapeake without even noticing it and arrived in Portsmouth 
on July 28, 1586.'" 

Drake's fleet had scarcely left the Virginia coast before Raleigh's first 
supply ship arrived with its provisions. Her men searched in vain for the 
lost colonists and then, deciding not to wait for Grenville's expected arrival, 
took their supplies back to England. About a month later Grenville's squadron 
reached the abandoned fort. All he found were the hanging bodies of an 
Englishman and an Indian, apparently executed while the supply ship was 
there. Later he did succeed in capturing three Indians and, although two of 
them escaped, he managed to learn from the third that the colonists had 
left with Drake. Not having the benefit of Lane's experience, GrenviUe did 
not know whether he should reestablish the colony or leave it deserted. He 
finally compromised by putting eighteen men in the fort, along with four 
cast-iron cannon, hoping that they would be able to defend themselves against 
the Indians if the vanished savages should return. 

With this problem settled, GrenviUe hastened off to his deferred privateer- 
ing, but 1586 was not to prove so profitable as 1585. He reached the Azores 
without meeting a Spanish ship, and his crew became so sick that he went 
to Newfoundland for fresh supplies. Coming back to the Azores, he took 


two small prizes and reached his home in Bideford in December. Along with 
his prizes, he brought back as a servant the Indian he had captured at 
Roanoke. The savage was baptised with the name of Raleigh and after his 
death two years later was given a Christian burial at Bideford. Grenville 
himself went on to London to see Raleigh, but he was assigned no part in 
the new Virginia venture which was already under way.^^ 

Raleigh had not given up in despair after the return of the Roanoke 
colonists in July, even though there was every reason for abandoning the 
project. After two years of effort, there seemed to be nothing left in Virginia 
to show for it, and the discouraging stories told by Drake's sailors and Lane's 
soldiers of their troubles made it unlikely that anyone could be persuaded 
to risk either money or life on another voyage to the dangerous coast of 
Virginia. On the other hand, Raleigh was still financially ahead on the 
enterprise, even without counting the profits withheld by Grenville from the 
Santa Maria, and the reports brought back by Lane indicated that the Chesa- 
peake might provide the deep-water harbor he needed as a privateering base. 
Moreover, at least three men who had been in Virginia — Ralph Lane, Thomas 
Hariot, and John White — still had faith in the future of a colony there. 
They seem to have persuaded him to try again; at any rate, he assured 
Hakluyt, worrying in Paris that Raleigh might give up, that he was deter- 
mined to go ahead. As Hakluyt expressed it in poetic paraphrase: "You 
freely swore that no terrors, no personal losses or misfortunes could or would 
ever tear you from the sweet embraces of your own Virginia, that fairest of 

Raleigh's plans for this newest effort to embrace his tempestuous mistress 
were already well formulated when he wrote to Hakluyt. As early as Jan- 
uary 7, 1587, he had chartered the corporation of the city of Raleigh, naming 
as governor John White, who seems to have been the leading spirit in the 
enterprise and perhaps proposed the idea himself, along with twelve assistants. 
As the charter implied, Raleigh was not intended to be another fort, gar- 
risoned by soldiers, like the one on Roanoke Island, but a self-sufficient 
"city," that is, a colony which would raise its own food and try to develop 
a suitable export from among those commodities that Hariot had studied 
in Virginia. It would thus support itself without draining Raleigh's purse and 
at the same time serve as a supply base for his privateers. For this reason 
the colony was to be located, not behind the treacherous Carolina Banks, 
but in the still unexplored Chesapeake. 

To encourage volunteers Raleigh offered every settler a magnificent estate 
of 500 acres of land in the wilderness. He also attempted to undo the harm 
done to Virginia's reputation by the tales of the ex-colonists by encouraging 
some counter-propaganda. Hakluyt included in the dedication of his edition 
of Peter Martyr a condemnation of the Virginia critics, and Hariot prepared 


his Brief e and True Report to extol the prospects of the colony. Before either 
of these works could be published, however, John White had rounded up 
enough colonists for the initial expedition. 

Three boats, the Lion, probably the one used in 1585, a flyboat, and a 
pinnace, had been assembled for the 1587 voyage. John White, as governor 
of the colony, became captain of the Lion and admiral of the fleet, although 
this was apparently his first command at sea, or on land, for that matter. 
His second in command was the Portuguese pilot, Simon Fernandez, who 
seems to have considered White too weak and inexperienced for the chief 
post. Another veteran of Virginia, Edward Stafford, commanded the pinnace, 
and Edward Spicer was captain of the flyboat. Two or three of Lane's men 
were optimistic enough to make a second try at colonization, and Manteo 
and another Roanoke Indian used the opportunity to return to their homes. 
Of the hundred-odd other prospective settlers nothing is known save that 
Eleanor Dare, who accompanied her husband Ananias, was John White's 

The expedition got off to an unfortunately late start. The ships left 
London about the end of March, lingered at Portsmouth for several weeks, 
spent another week at the Isle of Wight, and two final days at Plymouth 
before sailing on May 8, a month later than Grenville's departure in 1585. 
We can only guess at the reasons for the delay, but the wait at Portsmouth 
was probably for some late-arriving colonists, while the call at the Isle of 
Wight may have been to arrange for an expedition which was fitting out 
there to bring other settlers along. It is likely that White's inefficient man- 
agement also caused repeated postponements. 

If White's quarrel with the Portuguese pilot did not begin at Portsmouth, 
it was started by the time the squadron was off the coast of Portugal. There 
the flyboat became separated from the other two ships, and, although White 
wanted to wait for her, Fernandez insisted on going on. All through the 
West Indies the argument continued. The company landed on what Fernandez 
said was an uninhabited island; White found some Indian potsherds and 
decided the pilot was a liar. At another island the ships stopped to take salt. 
White, remembering Lane's alarm two years earlier in a similar situation, 
prepared an armed force to cover the landing, whereupon Fernandez, recall- 
ing how Lane had quarrelled with Grenville over the incident, decided the 
harbor was too shallow to enter. White wanted to go ashore at another place 
to gather pineapples and bananas for the colony, as he had in 1585, but 
Fernandez said they could get supplies later. As it turned out, whether it 
was the pilot's fault or not, the colonists failed to obtain salt, livestock, or 
any of the supplies Grenville had picked up for Lane in 1585. 

At last, on July 22, the Lion and the pinnace anchored off Port Ferdinando, 
in order to stop and get a report from the men left there by Grenville a year 


before. White momentarily resumed authority by putting forty men in the 
pinnace for the trip to Roanoke Island, but Fernandez recovered control by 
ordering the sailors to leave the men at Roanoke, as he could not take them 
on to the Chesapeake. White had delayed him long enough, the Portuguese 
decided, and it was high time for him to set out after the Spanish treasure 
ships. The governor put up no argument against this decision, possibly be- 
cause he himself preferred to stay at Roanoke rather than venture into the 
unfamiliar Chesapeake and welcomed a good excuse for violating Raleigh's 

At the fort White found only a whitening skeleton with no clue to what 
had happened to the other members of Grenville's party. Vines were growmg 
in the empty houses, and deer browsed in the fort. The governor ordered 
every one to get to work at once repairing the houses and erecting new ones 
to provide homes for the families which had come. Two days later the flyboat 
showed up with the rest of the settlers, and the colony was at last reunited. 

A warning of future danger appeared when a group of skulking Indians 
killed George Howe, one of the assistants councillors, while he was out after 
crabs. In order to obtain some useful Indian allies, Stafford took Manteo to 
his people on Croatoan Island. When the Croatoans learned that the English 
had not come to take their corn, of which they had but little, they became 
friendly and agreed to try to bring the chiefs of the other tribes in that region 
to Roanoke Island to make peace with the settlers. They also informed the 
English of the fate of Grenville's party. Wingina's Indians, they said, had 
enticed two of the men out and slain one of them. The rest had taken shelter 
in a house, which the savages set on fire. The Englishmen had then fought 
their way out, got into their boat and disappeared. 

This was an ominous warning of the danger threatening the colony from 
Wingina's men, still lurking in their mainland village, and White made one 
of his rare decisions. Waiting meticulously for August 8, the day appointed 
for the Croatoans to bring in the local chiefs, he acted the moment it had 
passed without the appearance of the Croatoans. At midnight, with Captain 
Stafford, Manteo, and twenty-three other men, he started across the sound 
and just before dawn launched an attack on the Roanoke village from the 
land side, hoping to drive the savages into the water. This stratagem failed 
to work, for the Indians fled into the tall reeds growing along the shore, 
and only one of them was shot down. A moment later the colonists had 
reason to be thankful for their poor marksmanship; one of the savages 
called Captain Stafford by name and revealed that the people in the village 
were the friendly Croatoans, come to gather the corn abandoned by the 
Roanoke Indians, who had fled into the interior of the country. 

This unfortunate incident was one more instance of the bad luck that 
seemed to follow every move White made. As in other cases, however. White 


himself was at fault. In his first meeting with the Croatoans, they had asked 
him to give them some kind of badge of identification to prevent anything 
like this happening, as Lane's men had also fired upon them by mistake, but 
the governor had done nothing about it. Nevertheless, Manteo was able to 
convince his fellow tribesmen that their failure to keep their promise to come 
to Roanoke Island the day before was responsible for the misunderstanding. 
The faithful Manteo was given his reward a few days later; after he had 
been baptised a Christian, he was made Lord of Roanoke Island by the order 
of Sir Walter Raleigh. 

On Monday, August 18, the governor's heart was gladdened by a long- 
expected event; his daughter, Eleanor Dare, was delivered of the child she 
had been carrying since the city of Raleigh was first incorporated. John White 
had become a grandfather, possibly for the first time; it seems to have been 
Eleanor's first child. In any case, it was the first Christian child born in 
Virginia, and the following Sunday it was christened Virginia Dare, in the 
midst of a violent northeast gale. The storm came up just as the ships were 
getting ready to return to England and drove the Lion, with half of its crew 
ashore, out to sea for six days, before it could get back to Port Ferdinando 
and pick up the rest of its sailors. 

Meanwhile, a curious debate had broken out among the settlers, which is 
unintelligible as John White describes it for us and was perhaps never under- 
stood by him. By the charter issued to the colony twelve assistants had been 
named to serve with John White as a sort of advisory council. Three of these 
had remained in England, George Howe had been killed, and another, 
Fernandez, intended to go back home with the Lion. That left seven assistants 
at Roanoke Island, among them White's son-in-law, Ananias Dare. Some one 
at this juncture, probably White, proposed that one of the assistants should 
be sent back to England to look after the interests of the colony and pre- 
sumably to keep an eye on the untrustworthy Fernandez. White finally talked 
Christopher Cooper into accepting the responsibility, but the next day Cooper 
changed his mind and refused to go. 

At this point someone must have had a clever idea. It was probably clear 
to everybody, perhaps even to John White himself, that, although the gov- 
ernor was honest, lovable, and enthusiastic, he was unfit for leadership. He 
had most recently demonstrated his indecisive nature by proposing, after the 
colonists had got all their goods ashore on Roanoke Island and repaired the 
houses there, that the settlement be moved into the interior. What the 
reasons were for this change, nor indeed whether it was his own idea, he 
does not tell us, but there must have been some who considered the move 
unwise. At any rate, the assistants, along with all the settlers, hit upon the 
plan of satisfying White's request for a representative in England by sending 

Va. 2—21 


the governor himself back home, thereby relieving themselves of his inept 

When the entire company appeared on August 22 to nominate him as their 
agent in London, White was dumbfounded. He argued that he would be 
criticized at home for deserting his colonists after leading them into the 
New World wilderness. Moreover, he insisted, his property would be damaged 
or destroyed through neglect during his absence, as had already happened 
during his raid on the Roanoke village. Therefore, he concluded, he would 
not go himself. The next day, Saturday, the assistants came back, some of 
the women joining their entreaties to the men, with a promise to give bond 
for the protection of his property. White at last surrendered, and on Monday 
the colonists gave him further assurance by drawing up a formal document, 
declaring that he had agreed to go only on account of their "importunacie." 

The governor hastily packed his baggage for departure, locking away in 
three chests what he did not want to take with him, his books, his framed 
pictures and maps, and his armor, all of which were safeguarded by the 
colonists' bond. On Wednesday morning he left Roanoke Island and reached 
Port Ferdinando just in time. The Lion had returned that very day after the 
storm and was ready to sail, while the flyboat had already crossed the bar 
and was standing out to sea. White boarded the flyboat at midnight, leaving 
the Lion to Fernandez, and once more justified his reputation as a Jonah. 
When the flyboat attempted to weigh anchor, the capstan bar broke, and 
the whirling capstan knocked down and injured twelve of the fifteen mem- 
bers of the crew. The disabled flyboat, leaving Fernandez to his privateering 
in the Azores, attempted to get home alone, only to run into another north- 
easter, which blew them backwards for six days. Just when everyone expected 
to die of thirst and famine, the flyboat sighted land, which turned out to be 
the west coast of Ireland. After doing what he could for the surviving 
members of the crew, White took passage on the Monkey for Southampton, 
where he arrived on November 8, learning that Fernandez had reached port 
three weeks before, prizeless, and with a crew so weakened by disease that 
it could not bring the Lion into harbor." 

By November 20 White was in London, turning over his letters and reports 
to Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh immediately prepared letters to the settlers, 
promising them further supplies, and ordered a pinnace sent out at once 
with his letters and the goods they had specifically asked for. The pinnace 
was held up, however, until it could go out with the squadron Grenville was 
preparing at Bideford. Meanwhile, in view of the impending threat of the 
Spanish Armada, the queen had forbidden all vessels to leave England in 
order to keep shipping at home to meet the attack, but Raleigh counted on 
his influence to enable Grenville to get away in spite of the ban. On Feb- 
ruary 27, 1588, he sent strict instructions to his half-brother, Sir John Gilbert, 


in Devon, that no ships were to be allowed to depart, but he added a private 
postscript: "Such as I acquaynted yow withall to whom I have given leve you 
may lett them steale away."-*' 

Elizabeth, however, could not afford to spare the ships Raleigh had as- 
sembled, among them her own Tiger, now refitted and ready for action, 
regardless of the needs of the Virginia colonists or Grenville's thirst for 
Spanish prizes. Undeceived by Raleigh's professed intentions of enforcing 
the ban, the lords of the Privy Council on March 31 wrote directly to Gren- 
ville, ordering him to keep his ships at home, in readiness for Drake's orders. 
Although the fleet was thus halted just on the eve of departure, Grenville was 
permitted to send any ships Drake did not need to Virginia. He therefore 
assigned two pinnaces, the Brave and the Roe, for the Virginia voyage, and on 
April 22, 1588, the governor set sail for Roanoke Island with fifteen new 
colonists and supplies for the settlers already there."' 

White soon discovered that the pinnace crews had learned greed in 
Grenville's service, if nothing else. The boats had not reached Land's End 
before they had begun stopping every vessel they met, without bothering to 
notice what flag it flew, with unfortunately little profit. The situation changed 
when the Brave, on which White was traveling, got separated from the Roe. 
Since a partner was essential in privateering, the Brave had to avoid other 
vessels until it could make contact again with the Roe, but in this it was 
unsuccessful. Two French ships caught up with the pinnace, and a boarding 
party took the ship after a bloody fight in which White himself was wounded 
three times. The Frenchmen showed mercy on the survivors by leaving them 
the ship and enough biscuit to get back to England, although they did take 
along the Spanish pilot, Pedro Diaz, who had been captured by Grenville 
aboard the Sa>ita Mar/a in 1585 and welcomed this opportunity to get out of 
English hands. There was nothing left for White to do but to return, and 
he arrived in Bideford Bay exactly a month after he had departed. Several 
weeks later the Roe also appeared, bringing back the four or five colonists 
who had intended to go to Roanoke.-" 

This abortive venture ended the effort to get supplies to Virginia in 1588. 
No more ships could be spared with the Spanish Armada approaching, and 
both Raleigh and Grenville were occupied until fall in the queen's service. 
Two English privateers belonging to John Watts did get to the West Indies 
that summer and continued on to Newfoundland, but there is no reason to 
believe that they called at Roanoke Island. During the following winter a new 
attempt was made to get support for John White's city of Raleigh. A syndicate 
of nineteen persons was organized to furnish financial backing for the colony. 
Among the members were William Sanderson, husband of Raleigh's niece 
and Raleigh's business agent, Thomas Smith, father of the Sir Thomas Smith 
who was to refound Virginia in 1607, and Richard Hakluyt. In return for 


supplying the colony the syndicate was to be granted the right of free trade 
in Virginia for seven years. John White had also been active during the 
winter, for he had added a new assistant and dropped three of the original 
ones, including, of course, Fernandez.-* 

Although this new agreement was formally drawn up on March 7, 1589, 
the necessary investment was not forthcoming to send an expedition to 
Virginia that year. A number of privateers did leave for the West Indies, 
but there is no evidence that any of them was asked to call at Roanoke Island. 
This idea did occur to John White early in 1590, since the syndicate still had 
not raised enough money to send its own ships. John Watts had another 
privateering expedition ready in the Thames in January when another em- 
bargo was laid on shipping. The governor then asked Raleigh to use his 
influence to get the queen's permission to let Watts's ships sail on condition 
that they take him, his supplies, and his new settlers to Roanoke. 

After the royal license had been obtained, arrangements with Watts were 
completed by William Sanderson, whether in behalf of Raleigh, the syndicate, 
or himself it is not known. Watts was supposed to post a bond that he would 
carry out the terms of the agreement, but this does not seem to have been 
done. Apparently Watts reached a personal understanding with Sanderson, 
whereby one of Sanderson's ships, the Moonlight, would be allowed to go 
along on the expedition in return for taking over the burden of carrying 
White's supplies. If this was the understanding, John White was not in- 
formed of it, for he was indignant when Watts refused to put aboard anything 
but his chest, not allowing him to take along even a servant boy to wait 
on him. 

The governor sailed on the Hopewell, the admiral of Watts's squadron, 
commanded by Abraham Cocke. The vice-admiral was the Little John, cap- 
tained by Christopher Newport, another name destined to be famous in later 
Virginia history, while the third ship was a pinnace, John Evangelist. The 
three vessels sailed out of the Thames before the Moonlight was ready, leaving 
her to catch up with them in the West Indies. The Moonlight, commanded 
by Edward Spicer, who had been captain of the ill-fated flyboat which had 
taken White back to England in 1587, picked up a partner, the pinnace 
Conclude, and brought her along to join the rest of the fleet on July 2. By 
that time the early arrivals had already acquired three prizes. After spending 
several weeks more in privateering, the Hopewell and the Moonlight headed 
north to Virginia, the other ships having already sailed for home. 

As they neared the Carolina Banks, White's bad luck returned. The 
hurricane season had begun, and the ships were buffeted by storms for a 
week. When the weather cleared, they stopped at Wococon, where Grenville 
had wrecked the Tiger in 1585, for fresh water and fish. On the night of 
August 12 they anchored at Croatoan without noticing any sign of human 


life, and on the 15th they reached Port Ferdinando, where they saw the encour- 
aging sign of smoke rising from Roanoke Island. The next morning, having 
fired several cannon shots to announce their arrival to the settlers, White 
and the ship captains went in to the inlet. On their way they noticed smoke 
rising from Hatorask Island to the south and decided to investigate that first. 
When they finally reached the fire, which proved to be much farther away 
than they had thought, they found no sign of human presence, and it was 
then too late to go to Roanoke Island that day. 

Next morning the two boats put out from the ships once more and en- 
countered rough water. A wave engulfed the Hopewell's boat, but it got 
ashore safely. The Moonlight's boat overturned, however, and eleven men, 
including Captain Spicer, were drowned. Although the sailors wanted to 
abandon the enterprise after this accident. Captain Cocke and White talked 
them into going on. By the time they reached Roanoke Island it was dark, 
but, seeing a fire in the woods, they rowed to that spot and sang English 
songs to attract the attention of the colonists without getting any response. 

At daybreak they landed to discover that they had been serenading a brush 
lire and then went on to the fort. On the shore they found carved on a tree 
the letters C R O, which White took for the agreed-upon notice of the spot 
to which the settlers had decided to move. The meaning of the letters was 
explained a little farther on, where the word was carved out in full: 
CROATOAN. It was encouraging to see that there was no cross, which 
was supposed to be used as a signal of distress, indicating that the colonists 
had not been in diflSculties at the time they removed to Croatoan Island. 

There was evidence that the settlers had not decided to leave immediately 
after White's departure in 1587. They had surrounded their houses with a 
palisaded fort, built of high posts; then, when they moved, they had taken 
the houses down and carried them along, presumably to Croatoan Island. 
They had also taken with them their supplies and the smaller cannon, leaving 
behind them only the four cast-iron guns Grenville had put ashore in 1586 
and their bars of iron and two pigs of lead, intended for the casting of 
bullets. They had also left behind five chests, which they buried in the trench 
of Lane's old fort, as the sailors with White discovered. Unfortunately, the 
Indians had discovered them first and looted them. Three of them were the 
ones White had left in 1587, and he found his books torn out of their covers, 
his picture frames spoiled by the rain, and his armor eaten through with rust. 

Since another storm was now coming up, the party hastened back to their 
ships and managed to get aboard by nightfall. The next day Captain Cocke 
agreed to go back to Croatoan Island to see the settlers, but, with the wind 
blowing them against the shoals, they lost two anchors and were almost driven 
aground, being saved only by good fortune. Since supplies were running low, 
Captain Cocke decided to go back to the West Indies; if they could get 


enough food there, they would return in the following summer. The wind, 
however, forced them to change their course for the Azores and eventually 
to England. On October 24, 1590, the Hopewell dropped anchor in Plymouth 

Although John White never gave up the idea that his settlers were still 
alive on Croatoan Island, there is no record of his having made any further 
efforts to get back to Virginia. He retired to his estate at Newtown in County 
Cork, which he left from time to time to visit England and his "very friend 
Master Richard Hakluyt," perhaps still talking of ideas for reviving the Vir- 
ginia project. Hakluyt, ever eager to collect more material for his Principal 
Navigations, persuaded him to prepare an account of his "last voyage into 
the West Indies, and partes of America called Virginia." He did so, thus 
giving us the only account we have of the final visit to Roanoke Island, and 
sent it to Hakluyt on February 4, 1593."^ The rest of his life is as unknown 
to history as the fate of his "lost colony." 

Today we still know no more about the vanished settlers than John 
White did, but from what we know about similar colonies, we can perhaps 
make a more accurate surmise. It is quite clear, as White saw, that they had 
decided to move to Croatoan Island, where they expected to count on 
Manteo, whose mother may have been the "queen" of the Croatoans, to keep 
the Indians friendly. The step was probably caused by a food shortage during 
the first winter. Although White does not tell us what supplies they had, the 
difficulties in the West Indies indicate that they did not get as much food 
there as Lane's men had, and Lane's party would have starved if their captain 
had not extorted corn from the savages by force. 

Since the local Indians had fled and the Croatoans were the only other tribe 
White's colonists were acquainted with, it was natural for them to turn to 
Manteo's people for help. Their reception must have been friendly at first, 
because it would have taken many trips in the pinnace to move the supplies 
and the houses fifty miles across the sound. The reason why they did not 
make the final trip to recover White's chests is also clear. The Croatoans 
were short of corn in August, as they told the governor, and they cannot 
have had enough to feed a hundred extra mouths in December. Sooner or 
later, in spite of Manteo, there must have been a general massacre of the 
whites. Since the Indians usually saved women and children, perhaps little 
Virginia Dare grew up to be a savage squaw. 

Whither the Lost Colony.'* 

There have been many words written and much speculation as to the fate 
of the colonists left behind at Roanoke by Governor White in 1587. The 

■ What follows is appended by the Editor.— R.D.W. 


theory which has had most publicity — and which, in the humble opinion of 
this writer, is most improbable — is that they left the Island and joined the 
friendly Croatoan Indians on the Banks southwest of present Cape Hatteras, 
for so the carved name they left behind would indicate. The proponents of 
this theory have believed to see the descendants of this racial fusion in the 
so-called "Croatan" Indians of recent years in Robeson County, North Caro- 
lina, because of their Anglo-Saxon names and fancied survival of Elizabethan 
speech in that area. It is permitted to be somewhat skeptical of this hypothesis 
in the absence of more substantial support than has been heretofore adduced — 
the name applied to this group is obviously a result of the theory, the assump- 
tion of English names by non-British peoples is a thing we witness every day, 
and the speech question would certainly be deserving of more investigation 
than has apparently yet been made by Elizabethan speech experts. On the 
other hand, the first settlers at Jamestown recorded various reports on the 
subject of the Roanoke colony which, while in no way solving the mystery, 
seem deserving of more attention than has been accorded to them. Let us 
examine in detail the accounts given by Smith, Strachey and others in the 
early days at Jamestown, just twenty years after the "Lost Colony" was last 
seen at Roanoke.-® 

Captain John Smith has been praised by some, discredited as boastful, 
arrogant and untruthful by others; he told a fanciful story of his capture 
and imprisonment by Powhatan. Among other things, he said, in speaking 
of the Great Chief, "What he knew of the Dominion he spared not to 
acquaint me with, as of certain men at a place called Occanahonan, cloathed 
like me," that is, wearing European apparel. 

A little later, the chronicler Samuel Purchas reported that "Powhatan 
confessed that he had been at the murder of that Colony [of Roanoke] and 
showed a musket barrel and brass mortar and certain pieces of iron which 
had been theirs." 

William Strachey, Secretary of the Colony, told of an account by Machumps, 
Powhatan's brother-in-law, of two places called Peccarecamek and Ochanahoen 
where "the people have built houses with stone walls, one story above an- 
other, so taught them by those English who escaped the slaughter at Roanoke 
. . . and where the people breed up tame turkeys in their houses and take 
apes [probably opossums, as before noted] in the mountains and where at 
Ritanoe, the weroance Eyanoco preserved seven of the English alive — four 
men, two boys and a young maid (who escaped and fled up the river of 
Chanoke*)." These conditions prevailed, said Strachey, "at what time this 
our Colony, under the conduct of Captain Newport, landed within the Chesa- 
peake Bay." 

* obviously Chawanook, modern Chowan. 


Smith reported further that the chief of the Paspaheghs agreed to lead 
two of his (Smith's) men "to a place called Panawick where he reported 
many men to be apparelled [in European garb}." They landed at War- 
raskoyack, said Smith, but there the Chief acted evasively and held out for 
more recompense and they finally had to return without finding out anything. 
The spot was shown on an early map as being somewhere between the 
Roanoke and the Tar (or Pamlico) Rivers, and was labelled "Here the King 
of Paspahegh reported our men to be and wants to go," and showed nearby 
the legend "Pananiock." On the same map was this legend near the upper 
Neuse River: "Here remaineth four men clothed that came from Roanoke 
to Ocanahawan." The Virginia Council reported on this matter, in 1609, "the 
intelligence of some of our nation planted by Sir Walter Raleigh, yet alive, 
within fifty miles of our fort ... as is testified by two of our colony sent out 
to seek them, who (though denied by the savages speech with them) found 
crosses and letters and characters, and assured testimonies of Christians, newly 
cut in the bark of trees." 

Back to Strachey's account again: he said that James I "hath been 
acquainted that the men, women and children of the first plantation at 
Roanoke were by practice and commandment of Powhatan (he himself 
persuaded thereunto by his priests) miserably slaughtered, without any offence 
given him either by the first planted (who twenty years had peacefully lived 
intermixed with those savages, and were out of his territory) or by those who 
now have come to inhabit some part of his desert [uninhabited] lands, and 
to trade with him for some commodities of ours, which he and his people 
stand in want of . . ." 

Making allowances for inaccuracies in reporting and inconsistencies in 
fact, there are several things that emerge from these accounts: First, upon the 
arrival of the Jamestown settlers, there were still living members of the 
Roanoke colony at an undetermined point in the southwest, dressed in 
English-style clothing and living in English-style dwellings. Second, the new 
arrivals were told about them and were given physical signs of them, but were 
not allowed to speak to them. Third, they had lived in harmony, inter- 
mingled with the natives of that area for twenty years (1587-1607). Fourth, 
probably urged by a superstititious fear of the consequences that might result 
from their contact with the new arrivals, Powhatan had them put to death. 

It is not feasible to identify the localities mentioned in these accounts 
with actual known places shown on maps or given in other stories. Occana- 
honan may have been anywhere in the upper reaches of the Roanoke, Tar or 
Neuse Rivers; it has been suggested that Panawick may have been Panawaioc, 
rather uncertainly placed on the south side of what may have been Pamlico 
River on White's map of 1583. It will be recalled that the land of Chawanook 
was approximately south of Warraskoyack, a little over fifty miles from 


Jamestown, and what intrigues us most is the saving of some of the white 
people from the slaughter, and the "young maid" who escaped by fleeing 
up the Chowan River — north into Warraskoyack country. In truth, as Dr. 
Schlegel suggested above, Virginia Dare — then twenty years old — may have 
grown up to live the life of a native girl, as indeed she was!^^ 

One of the most interesting accounts — somewhat earlier than the settlement 
at Jamestown — is contained in the Archivo General de hidias at Seville. While 
adding nothing to the solution of the mystery, it shows the Spaniards be- 
lieved the English were still in Virginia then. This account is in the form of 
a report from the Governor of Florida, Gonzalo Mendes de Can^o, dated 
28 June 1600 and containing a deposition made by an Irish mercenary of the 
St. Augustine garrison named David Glavin or Gland. The latter told briefly 
the story of the Lane and White expeditions of 1585 and 1587, which account 
— while differing in some details from Lane's and White's reports — is remark- 
ably accurate in essentials. Glavin told of being taken from a ship out of 
Nantes and brought to el ]acan by Ricardo de Campoverde,* who was in 
command of a fleet of nine vessels. One hundred and fifty settlers were 
landed at 36° north latitude, where they set about making bricks for a fort 
and houses. They stayed there a year and a half, said Glavin, when Francisco 
Draque** came and took them back to England. He heard the Queen was 
much displeased because the Colonists were brought back and had a new 
expedition prepared consisting of two ships and 200 men and women. 
Glavin was again forced to go along but this time he and another Irish 
soldier escaped on the coast of Puerto Rico. He stated that he considered 
the English were then (1600) still in el ]acan, and the Governor added a 
postscript indicating that the town of el ]acan was called "Virginia" by the 
English. As noted above, the details are somewhat inaccurate: Granville had 
only seven ships, the Lane colony only 102 men, and stayed at Roanoke only 
ten months; the White colony — the "Lost Colony" — sailed in three ships and 
had only 123 men and women. But the essentials were there and the Florida 
Governor's informant is identifiable: in the roster of Lane's colony of 1585 
appears the name Darby Glande, and John White noted in his account on 
1 July 1587 off the coast of Puerto Rico, "We left behind two Irishmen 
of our company, Darbie Glaven and Dennis Carrell." This clearly refers to 
the same person, even though the Spaniards had difficulty with the English 
and Irish names."* 

In spite of the above and other facts — both expressed and implied — that 
are known concerning the Lost Colony of Roanoke, the fate of those pioneers 
in the founding of Virginia seems destined to remain clouded in mystery. 

* Sir Richard Grenville, whose name was also spelled "Greenfield." 
** Sir Francis Drake. 


Notes on Chapter XXX 
N.B. See remark at beginning of Chapter I notes. 

1. Lewis and Loomie, The Spanish Jesuit Mission in Virginia, 1570-72, pp. 10-11. 

2. Lewis and Loomie, op. cit., pp. 13-15. 

3. Ibiii., p. 24. 

4. Ibid., pp. 43-48. 

5. /*/</., pp. 51-55. 

6. Quinn, The Roanoke Voyages, 1584-1590: I, 95, 97, 106. This work brings together all the 
surviving documents relating to the Roanoke colonies and is the principal source of all state- 
ments made in the rest of this chapter. The major documents are also reprinted in modernized 
English in Lorant, The New World: which also contains John White's drawings, reproduced in 
color. See pp. 125-133 for Barlowe's narrative, the source cited here. 

7. Quinn, op. cit., I, 108. 

8. Ibid.. 119. 

9. Jbid., 158-160. 

10. See White's drawing in Lorant, pp. [195], 241. 

11. Lane's letters are found in Quinn, \. 197-214. 

12. Lane's Discourse on the First Colony is in Quinn, \, I'i'i-l^A, and in Lorant, pp. 135-149. 

13. Quinn, op. cit., I, 172, 234-242. 

14. Ibid., 169-171, 231. 

15. Ibid., 251-252. 

16. For an account of these events see Lane's Discourse, cited above, Walter Bigges's account of 
Drake's expedition (Quinn, I, 294-303), and the Primrose journal (Quinn, I, 303-312). 

17. The sources on the 1586 voyages are found in Quinn, I, 465-495. 

18. Quinn, op. cit.. II, 514. 

19- All the documents bearing on the 1587 voyages are found in Quinn, II, 497-552. The inter- 
pretation of White's character given in the text is the responsibility of the present writer. 

20. Ibid., 560. 

21. Ibid., 554-555. 

22. Ibid., 555-556, 562-569. 

23. Ibid., 569-576. 

24. The sources for the 1590 voyage are in Quinn, II, 579-716. 

25. White's letter to Hakluyt in Quinn, II, 712-716. 

26. Sams, The First Attempt, pp. 321-4; here are quoted the accounts by Smith, Strachey and others. 

27. Lewis and Loomie, The Spanish Jesuit Mission in Virginia, pp. 274-7; in their discussion of 
this same subject, these authors give some very interesting but inconclusive identifications of 
the places mentioned. 

28. The Glavin deposition was translated by Katherine Reding in 8 G 214-228, which was reproduced 
in full in the Lost Colony Program of 1939; sec also Sams, op. cit., pp. 245-6, 505; and Lewis 
and Loomie, op. cit., p. 245. 

Chapter XXXI 
The Refounding of Virginia: Jamestown, 1607-1634 

By Marvin W. Schlegel 

FOR A DECADE after John White transmitted his account of the 1590 
voyage to Richard Hakluyt interest in Virginia seemed to languish. 
Although Raleigh made no further effort to send another colonizing 
expedition to the New World, he managed by keeping his claims under his 
patent alive to exclude any attempts by other Englishmen. Only with the 
death of his patron, Queen Elizabeth I, in 1603 was the situation changed. 
When the new monarch, James I, came down from Scotland to occupy the 
English throne, he sent Raleigh to the Tower on the charge of treason and 
confiscated his property, including his Virginia patent. At the same time James 
also brought the war with Spain to a conclusion, thus ending the privateering 
ventures in the West Indies and forcing the merchants to seek new ways of 
earning profits on their accumulating capital. 

Almost at once the "Virginia fever" began racing across England. With 
the terrible tales told by Lane's men long since forgotten, people remembered 
only the rumor of the fabulous mine which Lane had not been able to find. 
A new colony would discover the gold, not to mention that passage to the 
Pacific just beyond the mountains; meanwhile, the settlers could live at ease 
off the great plenty of natural resources described by Barlowe and Hariot. 
Dreams grew so grand that a popular play of 1605, Eastward Ho, mocked 
these great expectations. One of the characters reported of Virginia: 

"I tell thee gold is more plentiful there than copper is with us; and for 
as much red copper as I can bring I'll have thrice the weight in gold. Why 
man, all their dripping pans and chamber pots are pure gold; and all the 
chains with which they chain up their streets are massy gold, all the prisoners 
they take are fettered in gold; and for rubies and diamonds they go forth 
on holidays and gather 'em by the seashore to hang on their children's 
coats. ..." 

So eager were investors to win profits from the New World that one 
company could not contain them all. On April 10, 1606, King James I issued a 
charter to two companies, known as the London and the Plymouth companies, 
after the cities in which their chief promoters lived. Both groups were per- 


mitted to settle in Virginia, but not within a hundred miles of each other, 
and each company was to be granted the land fifty miles north and south 
and a hundred miles inland from the site of its first settlement. The colonists 
were guaranteed, as in previous charters, that they would retain all the rights 
and privileges of Englishmen. An autocrat like King James did not intend, 
of course, that these rights should include self-government. All power was to 
be retained by the king, who was to appoint a council to govern all of 
Virginia, councils to govern each company, and councils to govern each 

Although the Plymouth Company was destined to abandon its enterprise 
after a freezing winter on the Maine coast, the London Company was endowed 
with greater perseverance and more abundant financial backing. At its head 
was the greatest merchant prince in all England, Sir Thomas Smith, son of 
the Thomas Smith who had ofi^ered support to John White in 1589. Since 
Smith was also head of the highly profitable East India Company, his reputa- 
tion won the confidence of other investors. Another leading member of the 
London group was Richard Hakluyt, still full of ideas for the successful 
colonization of Virginia. Among the others were Edward Maria Wingfield, one 
of the four persons mentioned by name in the royal charter, and Bartholomew 
Gosnold, who had explored the northern coast of America in 1602, and was 
one of the leading spirits in promoting the new venture. 

The year of 1606 had almost passed before the expedition was ready to 
depart. In that time the necessary capital had been collected, supplies had 
been purchased, and about 120 prospective settlers enlisted. A third of them 
ranked as gentlemen, a loose classification ranging from members of noble 
families, like George Percy, brother of the Earl of Northumberland, to men 
of humble birth who had risen through their own eflforts, like Captain John 
Smith, just back from a dramatic career as soldier of fortune in Central 
Europe. Among them were none of the scientific experts, such as Raleigh 
had sent along with Lane in 1585; the only one claiming special knowledge 
was Captain John Martin, who was supposed to know something about 
precious metals, since his father was Master of the Mint. In addition to 
skilled craftsmen, like James Read, the blacksmith, and common laborers, 
like John Laydon, there was a surgeon, William Wilkinson, and a clergyman, 
the Reverend Robert Hunt, destined to be the first Protestant minister to hold 
service in the New World.* 

Settlers and supplies were loaded aboard three ships anchored in London. 
Largest of the three was the Susan Constant, captained by Christopher 
Newport, one of England's ablest seamen in spite of the fact that he had left 
his right arm in the West Indies on the 1590 expedition with John White. 

* The christening of Virginia Dare at Roanoke in 1587 implies presence of a clergyman, though 
his name is not known; it has been suggested that he was Thomas Hariof. (Editors Note) 


Newport was placed in supreme command of the fleet while at sea in order 
to avoid divided authority; the names of the councillors who were to take 
charge in Virginia were kept under seal in a locked box, not to be opened 
until twenty-four hours after they had sighted the Virginia coast. The two 
smaller vessels were the Godspeed, commanded by Bartholomew Gosnold, 
and the Discovery, a pinnace commanded by John Ratcliffe. 

At last, on December 20, 1606, the ships weighed anchor and dropped 
down the Thames, inspired by the splendid valedictory of Poet Michael 
Drayton, who after reading Hariot had composed an Ode to the Virginian 
Voyage for the occasion. He urged the settlers on: 

Britans, you stay too long. 

Quickly aboord bestow you, 

* « * 

And cheerefully at sea, 
Successe you still intice. 
To get the pearle and gold, 
And ours to hold, 


Earth's only Paradise, 

Where nature hath in store 
Fowle, venison, and Fish; 

And the fruitfuU'st soyle. 

Without your toyle. 
Three harvests more. 
All greater than you wish.* 

Unfortunately, the voyagers had scarcely reached the mouth of the Thames 
before they ran into difficulties. They were forced to drop anchor in the 
Downs to wait for favorable winds, and it took them six weeks to get through 
the English channel. This was a disastrous delay, for it meant that they could 
not get to Virginia in time to plant crops for the 1607 harvest, and it also 
used up provisions intended for the colony. The cooped-up quarters created 
nervous tension and the first signs of factionalism. The Reverend Mr. Hunt, 
who apparently had Puritan tendencies, like many of the Virginia group, was 
criticized by "some few, little better than Atheists, of the greatest ranke 
amongst us,"^ as John Smith's friends put it, presumably referring to Edward 
Maria Wingfield, who was accused of being a Catholic. 

By the time the ships had reached the Canaries, following the usual south- 
ward route, quarrels had become more serious. Captain John Smith, who had 
vigorous opinions and was not hesitant in expressing them, had incurred the 
enmity of "some of the chiefe," and they accused him of a plot to murder the 
other leaders and take over command of the expedition. Mutiny at sea was 


a serious crime, punishable by death, but fortunately Admiral Newport did 
not take the charges seriously. Instead of summoning Smith before a court 
martial, he placed him under arrest, postponing his trial until after the 
expedition reached Virginia. 

With Smith under restraint a reasonable degree of harmony was restored, 
and the voyagers reached the West Indies on March 23, 1607. After spending 
some time there, hunting, fishing, getting fresh water and relaxing from the 
strain of three months aboard ship, they headed north and on April 26 
reached their destination, Chesapeake Bay, the goal of English colonization 
since 1586. Landing on the cape, which they named Cape Henry after the 
Prince of Wales, they found "nothing worth the speaking of," as George 
Percy reported, but some savages who crept up on them out of the sand 
dunes and launched a flight of arrows at them as they were returning to their 
boats. Although Captain Gabriel Archer was shot through both hands, the 
Indians were quickly put to flight. 

That night the box was unlocked and the seals broken on the document 
which contained the names of the councillors who were to govern the new 
colony. There were seven names on the list, the three ship captains, Newport, 
Gosnold, and Ratcliffe, Edward Wingfield, John Martin, George Kendall, and 
Captain John Smith, who was still under arrest. The council was not formally 
organized, however, as Newport was to retain sole command until settlement 
had actually begun. 

The first step was to find a suitable site. Their instructions were to choose 
a navigable stream, one flowing from the northwest, if possible, since that 
was thought to be the most likely route leading to an easy passage to the 
Pacific. After exploring the river carefully, they were to select a spot which 
was high and dry and clear of trees, as far upstream as their ships could 
safely go, in order that they might more easily defend themselves against 
attack from the Spaniards. A broad river invited the colonists in the recom- 
mended direction as they ventured deeper into the Chesapeake, although they 
had difficulty in finding a deep enough channel through it. Finally their 
soundings revealed an excellent channel just off a point of land on the far 
shore, which they called Point Comfort. Proceeding farther up the river, 
which they named after their king, they came upon a spot which won the 
approval of Gabriel Archer and George Percy at least. Objection was made, 
however, that the water was too shallow near the shore for ships to unload 
conveniently, and Archer's Hope was therefore left behind. A few miles 
farther upstream they found another neck of land, where the deep channel 
came right up to the bank. Although the peninsula was low, wet, and covered 
with trees, it was well located for defensive purposes, and the colonists de- 
cided to build their town here. 

On May 14, l607, they began unloading their supplies and constructing 


their fort. The council was now organized with the election of Wingfield as 
president and Gabriel Archer as recorder, or secretary. Although the other 
members refused to allow Smith to take his seat, he was permitted to accom- 
pany Newport as second in command of an expedition sent farther up the 
river. This exploration was soon halted by the falls of the James, which 
precluded any hope for the present of finding the Pacific. Returning to 
Jamestown, Newport's party learned that the local Indians had abruptly 
changed their previously friendly attitude and launched an attack on the 

The situation was serious, for the colonists were going to be dependent on 
peaceful trade with the natives for their food. They had left provisions for 
little more than three months, even on short rations, and past experience 
indicated that supplies could not be expected from England before the follow- 
ing spring. In this emergency Newport stayed only until the palisade around 
the town was completed and sailed on June 21 with the Susan Constant and 
the Godspeed, leaving the pinnace with the settlers. Just before his departure 
one important problem was solved. Smith's enemies, unable to convict him of 
treason, proposed to send him back to England, but he had won such popular 
support that he was admitted to his seat on the council instead. 

As soon as Newport's ships were gone and the last ties with home were 
cut, the men left at Jamestown began to feel pangs of loneliness, surrounded 
as they were by a gloomy forest, peopled with treacherous savages. Isolation 
made the inevitable hardships all the more unbearable. Men grumbled at 
being forced to stand watch at the fort and complained even more loudly 
about their scanty rations. There was no meat, since they had no livestock 
and could neither hunt nor fish; by August, in fact, there was nothing but 
boiled barley. President Wingfield locked up the diminishing supplies of 
sherry and brandy, forcing them to drink water, the ultimate degradation for 
seventeenth century Englishmen. The Tidewater's oppressive summer heat 
was the crowning blow. One after another the colonists were laid low by 
sickness, and, before cooler weather had set in, nearly half of them were dead. 

Perhaps the stern authority of a Ralph Lane might have prevented this 
disaster, but strict discipline was impossible with government in the hands of 
a council divided by factionalism. Gosnold quarreled with President Wingfield 
until he fell sick and died; shortly afterwards, George Kendall was expelled 
from his seat by his fellow councilors. Since Newport had returned to 
England, this left only four of the original seven, Wingfield, John Ratcliffe, 
John Martin, and John Smith. When Wingfield attempted to exercise supreme 
authority, the three John's united to oust him from the council on Septem- 
ber 11, electing Ratcliffe to his place as president. For a brief time, while 
both Ratcliffe and Martin were sick, the colony had a single commander, and 


Smith used his authority to finish building houses for the settlers, many of 
whom were still living in tents. 

Luckily, throughout this crisis the savages had let the settlers alone, and 
now that their corn crop was being harvested, they began bringing in food 
for trade. When the local trade slackened. Smith took the boat down to 
Kecoughtan to buy food and then ventured up the Chickahominy, purchasing 
more corn there. Although the supply situation was thus temporarily relieved, 
RatclifFe proposed that he and Archer take the pinnace back to England after 
more provisions, but Smith and Martin talked him out of this excuse for 
flight. More forceful persuasion had to be used on the two deposed councilors, 
who were accused of trying to escape in the pinnace themselves but were 
halted by the cannon in the fort; on the evidence of the blacksmith, James 
Read, Kendall was condemned by a jury and shot. 

With rebellion suppressed and food on hand, Captain John Smith took 
it upon himself to resume exploration in order to earn the favor of the com- 
pany officials back in London, who would probably regard him with a critical 
eye after they learned of the charges which had been made against him. His 
first visit to the Chickahominy had aroused the hope that that stream might 
lead to the Pacific, and he set out with a small party along its winding course. 
Pushing ahead alone, except for an Indian guide, he was surprised and 
captured by a large hunting group of Chickahominies, who took him to their 
chief, Opechancanough. Instead of putting the prisoner to death, Opechan- 
canough treated him as an honored guest and conducted him to the great 
chief, Powhatan, who received Smith in royal splendor. Powhatan, eager to 
get control of the lucrative trade with the Englishmen, invited them to settle 
with him and sent Smith back to Jamestown with the invitation.* 

Captain John Smith was welcomed by the colonists, who had thought him 
dead, but Ratcliffe and Archer charged him with recklessness in causing the 
death of two of his companions and threatened to oust him from the council. 
Fortunately for Smith, Captain Newport arrived that very night from England, 
bringing with him among other new settlers a new councilor, Matthew 
Scrivener, and the charges against Smith were dropped. Smith took Newport 
around by water to visit Powhatan at his home on the York River and was 
much annoyed when Newport allowed the savage chieftain to outwit him 
in the trade which went on. Smith likewise did not approve the prolonged 
search for gold, which kept Newport in Virginia for three months and used 
up some of the precious supplies, but he kept his objections to himself out 
of loyalty to his superior officer. 

On April 20, 1608, ten days after Newport's departure, the settlers were 
delighted to see another ship coming. This was the Phoenix, which had 
sailed from England with Newport, but had been held up so long by un- 
favorable weather that it had been given up for lost. It brought adequate 


supplies, along with the rest of the 120 colonists who had been sent as the First 
Supply. Captain John Smith at once had the idea of using the Phoenix to go 
exploring again, but, when the master of the ship insisted that Smith go bond 
for his men's wages, the captain belatedly remembered that Newport was 
supposed to do all the exploring and dropped the plan. 

Smith continued to exercise unofficial command of the colony, aided by 
the support of Scrivener and the weakness of Ratcliffe and Martin. Under his 
direction the town, which had burned down shortly after Newport's return 
in January, was rebuilt, and corn was planted. He also exercised a firm hand 
with the Indians, who were constantly pilfering tools. He seized sixteen or 
eighteen of them and held them prisoners, threatening them with death. 
When the Indians captured two Englishmen and kept them as hostages, he 
raided their towns and frightened them into returning their prisoners. Finally, 
Powhatan had to send his own daughter, Pocahontas, whom Smith admired 
very much, to obtain the captives' release. 

Having successfully overawed the savages. Smith proceeded to handle 
his fellow councilors with an equally high hand. When Martin wanted to load 
the Phoenix with some ore which he thought contained gold, Captain Smith 
brushed aside his colleague's pretensions as a mineral expert and declared 
that a cargo of cedar wood would prove more valuable in London than 
Martin's "fool's gold." The disgruntled Martin thereupon decided to go back 
to England on the Phoenix, leaving Smith, with his loyal ally Scrivener, in 
control of the colony, since the weak Ratcliffe no longer had any real au- 
thority. Forgetting once more Newport's exclusive right to discoveries. Smith 
now decided to explore the Chesapeake. The purpose of this voyage was to 
locate a reported silver mine on the Potomac, which turned out to be only 
antimony. Talks with the savages, however, brought new rumors of the Pacific, 
but the search for the South Seas had to be temporarily postponed when 
Smith was poisoned by a sting-ray and forced to return to Jamestown. 

There he found that Ratcliffe had resumed command in his absence, and 
the colony was once more troubled with dissension, not to mention the sick- 
ness among the unseasoned new arrivals. Although Ratcliffe had two votes 
by virtue of his office of president and thus could not be outvoted by Smith 
and Scrivener, even if the latter had not been too ill to take part, Smith 
ignored this technicality and ousted the president from his place, raising the 
sick Scrivener to that post. He then returned to his exploration of the Chesa- 
peake, spending six weeks in probing the inlets and rivers until he was con- 
vinced that none of them led to the Pacific. The summer was not entirely 
wasted, however, for he did produce the first map of Virginia, which was 
published at Oxford in 1612. 

Back in Jamestown once more. Smith was elected president for the first 
time on September 10, 1608, "by the election of the Councel," which con- 

Va. 2—22 


sisted only of President Smith and ex-president Scrivener. The new president 
was soon reduced to the same powerless state in which he had kept his 
predecessors. Newport, arriving with the Second Supply, brought two new 
councilors, Peter Wynne and Richard Waldo. Since Newport restored Ratclifife 
to the council and even Scrivener was becoming restive under Smith's domina- 
tion, the president was reduced to a minority of one. He expressed his in- 
dignation at his new status by arguing for the first time with Newport, whom 
he had previously portrayed as his father. 

Newport had returned with instructions from the company in London to 
crown Powhatan as the vassal of the king of England, somewhat as Manteo 
had been made Lord of Roanoke twenty-one years before. He was also com- 
manded to continue the search for the Pacific beyond the falls of the James, 
and he had brought with him a demountable boat, which could be taken apart 
and carried around the falls for that purpose. Smith objected to both of these 
ideas, perhaps because he wes growing jealous of Newport and wanted to 
keep control of both the Indians and exploration in his own hands. His 
argument, however, was that Newport's proposals would endanger the colony's 
food supply; the gifts to Powhatan would encourage that chieftain to ask a 
higher price for his corn, while the venture up the James would prevent Smith 
from carrying out his intention of buying grain during the harvest season 
when the price was low. 

Newport naturally dismissed these objections as trivial and carried out 
the company's orders instead. Nevertheless, Smith turned out to be right. 
Nothing was discovered in the explorations, and the colony was short of food. 
Newport had brought seventy more settlers, which, added to the 130 still 
remaining of the 225 who had come earlier, made two hundred in all to be 
fed, four times as many as during the preceding winter. Moreover, the crops 
of 1608 were poor, and Powhatan sent out orders to his people not to sell 
any to the whites. The president relieved his feelings over the difiicult situation 
into which he had been put by penning a "rude answer" to the company in 
England, complaining about Newport and criticizing the company's policies, a 
letter which he probably had discretion enough not to send. 

As soon as Newport had sailed, taking Ratcliffe with him. Smith acted 
vigorously to save the colony. By winning over Captain Waldo to add to his 
own double vote as president, he was able to outvote the other two councilors, 
Wynne and Scrivener, and once more dominate the colony. Setting out with 
the boats, he forced the Indians on the James to trade with him at the point 
of a gun and then moved around to the York where he was able to frighten 
both Powhatan and Opechancanough into surrendering some of their precious 
stores of grain. Before long the savages were so awed by his swaggering 
arrogance that they allowed the English to pass among them with perfect 
safety and even returned their stolen goods. Back at Jamestown Smith set 


the colonists to hard work under strict discipUne, aided by the fact that the 
other three councilors had died, and soon had the settlers grumbling as loudly 
at his stern rule as they had at Wingfield's a year earlier. The situation got 
worse when rot and rats ruined all the corn, and the Englishmen were forced 
to spend the summer like the savages, scattered through the woods, living off 
oysters, sturgeon, and tuckahoe bread. Fortunately, about the middle of July, 
1609, an English vessel under Captain Samuel Argall appeared with supplies 
of wine and biscuit which were sold to the colonists. 

Argall also brought news of the great plans which had been made in 
England for the future of the colony. Newport's third return from Virginia 
early in 1609 had convinced the London merchants that whatever profits 
could be derived from their venture were still far in the future, and they 
had therefore decided on a drive to raise enough capital to put the colony 
on a permanent basis. As an incentive to investment, they had obtamed a 
new and more favorable charter, transferring control of the company from 
the king to the shareholders. The charter of 1609 greatly enlarged the ter- 
ritory granted to the company, giving it all the land two hundred miles north 
and south of Point Comfort and extending west and northwest to the Pacific; 
since the Pacific was still thought to be close at hand, no one realized that 
this grant gave Virginia a technical claim to an area larger than that of the 
present United States. The company also decided to put an end to the 
factionalism that had resulted from the multi-headed council at Jamestown 
by appointing a single governor to take charge; just to make sure that quarrels 
were ended, it was specifically written into the charter that the authority of 
President Smith should be terminated upon the arrival of the new officers 
in the colony. 

Armed with the new charter, the company began as energetic a fund- 
raising drive as had ever been seen in England. Pamphlets flooded the country 
with propaganda in the spring of 1609, painting a rosy picture of the future 
of Virginia and drawing a careful curtain over the disease and dissension of 
its past. Religion and patriotism were both put ahead of profits; investors 
were warned not to hope for gold mines. "Adventurers" who risked their 
capital were offered the hope of a dividend after seven years; "planters" who 
risked their lives were promised a hundred acres of land when they had 
served the company for a like term. Before the end of May, 1609, more than 
500 volunteers were ready to sail in nine ships, a larger expedition than all 
three earlier Virginia voyages put together. Included among them were many 
women and children, for, now that the colony was to be on a permanent basis, 
men were expected to take their families. Men of higher rank also took over. 
Heretofore the highest officers had been merely gentlemen; now two knights 
assumed command. A veteran naval officer, Sir George Somers, took precedence 


as admiral over Newport, while the new "sole and absolute Governor" was 
Sir Thomas Gates, on leave from his post in the Dutch army. 

In spite of all this thorough preparation the voyage of 1609 was to result 
in the worst disaster Virginia had yet experienced. Plague broke out on 
board ship, and at least thirty-two persons died of fever on the way. A West 
Indian hurricane scattered the fleet, and the Sea Venture, carrying all the 
new officers and 150 of the colonists, disappeared completely. When the 
surviving ships reached Jamestown in August, a new conflict over authority 
broke out, this time coming close to civil war. Smith's old enemies, Martin, 
Ratcliffe, and Archer had returned, and, since the new officers were lost, 
Martin and Ratcliffe resumed their seats on the old council. Having grown 
accustomed to ruling alone, the president objected to sharing power with his 
rivals, especially as he had reason to be contemptuous of their abilities. 

Even though he had lost the popular support on which he had relied in 
the past, since many of the old settlers blamed him for the recent hardships 
and they were vastly outnumbered in any case by the newcomers, who had 
no reason to love him, Smith still attempted to run affairs single-handed. 
Perhaps to impress the need for his authority upon the new arrivals, he sent 
most of them in two groups, one to Nansemond and the other to the falls, 
where they were supposed to establish settlements. 

Needless to say, both groups were soon in trouble with the Indians, and 
Smith went up the James to investigate conditions at the falls. Dissatisfied 
with the site chosen for the settlement, he bought the Indian village of the 
Little Powhatan from the chief and ordered the colonists to move there. Instead 
of moving, they mutinied and drove Smith out. The president then took refuge 
with the Indians, who suggested a joint attack on the rebels. Although Smith 
refused to lead the attack, the natives fell upon the settlers as soon as he had 
dropped downstream, whereupon he returned and persuaded the discomfited 
mutineers to move as ordered to the Indian village. Unfortunately at this 
moment, Francis West, whom Smith had appointed the local commander, 
returned from a visit to Jamestown and, after hearing his men's charges that 
Smith had instigated the Indian attack against them, West decided to take 
them back to their original fort. 

His authority flouted and dangerously weakened. Smith lost whatever 
chance he had to recover control as the result of an accident on the way back 
to Jamestown. The explosion of his powder bag burned him severely and sent 
him jumping into the river in agony. While he was still sick, Ratcliffe and 
Martin took over and began investigating all the charges against him, and 
the general repudiation of Smith made it obvious that he would be convicted 
as easily as he had convicted others. Some of his still loyal followers urged 
him to overthrow the legal authority and set up a military dictatorship, but 


Smith instead took ship for England and early in October, 1609, left Virginia 

Once again Captain John Smith's judgment was to be confirmed. Despite 
his overbearing self-assurance, he was the only able leader Virginia had yet 
produced, and leadership was essential for survival in the wilderness. Ratcliffe 
and Martin, mistrustful of their own abilities, chose first Francis West and 
then George Percy, both brothers of English lords, as president, but not even 
noble blood could suffice to guide the colony through the disastrous winter 
ahead. Supplies on hand were reasonably adequate, although as early as 
August Gabriel Archer had been concerned about the overly-optimistic reports 
of Newport, which had led to under-provisioning of the colony. The chief 
difficulty was that Percy could not control the unruly newcomers any better 
than Smith had been able to, and the food was consumed so lavishly at first 
that it soon ran short. On top of that war with the Indians cut off the usual 
trade and brought death to perhaps hundreds. Ratclifi^e, attempting to emulate 
Smith and purchase corn from Powhatan at gun's point, was murdered with 
some thirty of his men; West, setting out with the other pinnace in search 
of food, deserted the colony and ended up in England. By the time the spring 
of 1610 had come, scarcely sixty persons remained at Jamestown of the 500 
who had been in Virginia the previous fall. 

This winter of 1609-1610 has always been known as "the starving time," 
because Captain John Smith so named it in his Generall Historie, emphasizing 
how badly the colony fared when it was deprived of his leadership. Neverthe- 
less, no one actually starved to death, and at winter's end there was still some 
food left in the company's store. The diet was indeed as scant as it had been 
during the two previous winters, but the horrors of this year were enhanced 
by the tales of cannibalism which Smith related. The worst of these stories 
was the one about the man who killed and ate his wife, which was true 
enough but was not the result of starvation. When President Percy inves- 
tigated the report, he found that the man had murdered his wife in a fit of 
jealous passion and then ate her flesh in order to conceal the evidence. 
Hunger was not his motive, as there was still plenty of food in the house — 
although no other meat. Ignoring Smith's jealous exaggerations, however, the 
winter was the most calamitous yet experienced in Virginia. Some four hun- 
dred persons died of Indian arrows, disease, and malnutrition, not so much 
for lack of food as for lack of discipline and leadership. 

As the hungry colonists huddled in Jamestown in May, 1610, counting 
the days until their supplies would be exhausted, they were suddenly cheered 
by the sight of English sails in the James. The ships, they soon learned, how- 
ever, brought no more food, but only the long-missing colonists lost in the 
Sea Venture. Cast ashore in the Bermudas by the hurricane, they had been 
the first to discover the charms of those islands as a winter resort. Instead of 


hostile savages, they found succulent hogs to furnish them with pork and 
ham. Whiling away their time by constructing two new ships, appropriately 
called the Patioice and the Deliverunce, they had come on to Jamestown to 
learn that their shipwreck had saved their lives. 

The new governor. Sir Thomas Gates, was aghast at the condition of his 
ill-fated colony. Without a John Smith to feed the settlers on oysters and 
tuckahoes, only one course was left; Jamestown had to be abandoned. Re- 
luctantly Gates took the starving survivors aboard his little ships, with diffi- 
culty preventing them from setting fire to what was left of the fort, and sailed 
down the James, hoping that their tiny stock of food would hold out until 
they reached Newfoundland, where provisions might be obtained from 
English fishermen. Before they had passed Mulberry Island, however, a boat 
appeared with the news that supplies had arrived, and Gates took his people 
back up to Jamestown. 

The new supplies were brought by the new governor, Lord Delaware, who 
had intended to sail the previous August but had delayed his departure until 
April, 1610. On June 10 he arrived before the fort and grimly surveyed the 
scene of the disaster. The palisade was down, the gates fallen off their 
hinges; the church was in ruins, many of the houses had been chopped up 
for firewood. The blockhouse offered the only safe refuge from arrows 
launched by Indians lurking in the woods. There was grain enough for the 
300-odd persons in the colony, counting the 150 he had brought with him, 
but no meat, since he had expected to rely on the livestock shipped in 1609. 

Fortunately, Lord Delaware had the qualities of leadership which the 
colony had lacked since the departure of Captain John Smith. He called the 
unruly survivors together, lectured them on the need for discipline, and set 
them to work. He sent Sir George Somers and Samuel Argall back to the 
Bermudas in search of hogs to replace the devoured livestock. With a new 
government organized and the colony under control, he sat down to pen a 
report to the company in London. In spite of the calamitous winter, he foresaw 
a brilliant future for Virginia and recommended that the company go ahead 
with its plans. With penetrating judgment he pointed out that the two chief 
mistakes had been sending men of poor character and failing to supply them 
with provisions to last a year. Then he sent Sir Thomas Gates back to London 
with the news. 

Before Gates's arrival the men who had fled with West in the pinnace dur- 
ing the winter had reached England and spread such horrifying tales about 
the colony that the company, which had supposed the settlement on a firm 
foundation, was ready to abandon Virginia completely. Little was left of all 
the funds collected in the campaign of 1609, and there seemed scant hope 
that more money would be contributed in the face of the discouraging stories 
reported by West's men. Before making up their minds, the members of the 


London council called in Gates and asked him to tell them frankly whether 
there was any use in risking more money in Virginia. He replied emphatically 
that he thought the colony could soon be put on a paying basis with exports 
of timber, sassafras, iron, wine, and silk. 

Gates's enthusiasm decided Virginia's fate. The council agreed to conduct 
a second drive to collect contributions for the colony. Again it applied to 
King James for a new and more liberal charter. This charter, which was not 
formally signed until 1612, enlarged Virginia's boundaries to include the 
friendly Bermudas. It also made the management of the company more 
democratic by authorizing all the "adventurers" to meet in a "court and 
assembly" in London once each quarter to decide on company policy. 

During the winter of 1610-11 pamphlets on Virginia again flooded Eng- 
land. Stories of the Bermuda adventures of the shipwrecked passengers 
praised the charms of the company's latest acquisition. The Bermuda tales 
incidentally inspired the popular dramatist, William Shakespeare, to turn the 
shipwreck into a play, which he called The Tempest. More importantly, the 
campaign succeeded in drawing enough money out of English pockets to 
keep the colony going. Every old adventurer had been called upon to con- 
tribute £37 \0s., or three times as much as he had subscribed in 1609, and, 
although some failed to respond, enough new volunteers were found to bring 
the pledged total to £18,000 by the spring of l6ll. In March Sir Thomas 
Dale, an officer on leave from the Dutch army, who had been named deputy 
governor, set sail with three hundred new colonists, and he was followed in 
May by Sir Thomas Gates with another three hundred men and adequate 

Meanwhile Lord Delaware had been keeping the colony in hand in spite 
of a series of illnesses which kept him almost constantly in his bed. Although 
Argall and Somers failed to bring back the expected hogs from Bermuda, 
Argall discovered the fishing banks off Cape Cod and returned with fish. 
Argall also took the pinnace up the Chesapeake and opened trade with the 
Potomac Indians, since Powhatan's men still continued hostile. Supplies were 
also improved by the arrival of the Hercules, sent out by the company in 
December, 1610. Delaware set the colonists to work, rebuilding Jamestown, 
restoring the 1609 forts at the falls and at Point Comfort, and establishing 
two new forts on Hampton River. Unfortunately, he did not have the men 
to man these forts, as the "seasoning" had taken its usual toll of the new- 
comers, leaving less than two hundred alive. Before Dale could arrive, how- 
ever, Delaware had found his sickness no longer tolerable and left the colony 
to George Percy, reaching England in time to meet Gates in the Channel on 
his way to America. 

Virginia was not long in Percy's inept hands, since Dale reached Point 
Comfort on May 12, l6ll, shortly after Delaware's departure. Dale at once 


set to work to make the colony self-sufficient according to the new plans 
agreed upon in London. He reoccupied the two forts on Hampton River, 
Forts Henry and Charles, building cabms, clearing ground, and planting 
grain, sowing in four or five days more soil than the Indians had planted on 
the open meadows of Kecoughtan the year before. Proceeding up the river 
to Jamestown, he planted more grain there, set to work to repair the still- 
fallen church and to build a new wharf for the ships. In accordance with his 
instructions, he looked for a more healthful site for the colony's chief settle- 
ment, selecting a bend in the James ten miles below the falls. In three months 
he had become so enthusiastic that he was writing home to London a plea 
for 2,000 men next year, with whom he promised to take over the whole 
Chesapeake and make the colony self-supporting. 

Part of Dale's confidence may have been due to the fact that his men had 
just foiled the one and only Spanish effort to intervene in Virginia. In June, 
1611, a small Spanish ship, ostensibly in search of a missing vessel, entered 
the Chesapeake to spy out the condition of the English colony. The two officers, 
Don Diego de Molina and Ensign Marco Antonio Perez, went ashore at 
Point Comfort with Francis Limbry, an English pilot in the service of Spain, 
and were promptly made prisoner by the soldiers at Fort Algernoun. A pilot 
named Clark then went aboard the caravel to bring it closer to shore, where 
it would lie under the guns of the fort, but the Spanish captain was too 
shrewd to be taken in by this stratagem. Instead he sailed back to Cuba with 
Clark after vainly trying to exchange him for the three men left ashore. Al- 
though Perez soon died, the other two were held captive at Point Comfort 
until 1616, Molina occasionally smuggling out a secret report. Then Dale 
took both men back to England with him, but Limbry never reached his 
native country. Discovering that the pilot was an Englishman, Dale hanged 
him as traitor. 

Meanwhile, Sir Thomas Gates had arrived in Virginia in August, 1611, 
and with his commission as lieutenant governor took over the chief command 
of the colony from Dale. With Gates's approval, Dale went ahead with his 
plans to build a new town, which he called Henrico in honor of the Prince 
of Wales, farther up the James. He surrounded it with a palisade and built 
another palisade across the neck of land behind it, to keep the cattle in and 
the Indians out. He drove the Appomattox Indians from their seat on the 
north side of the river bearing their name, calling this neck of land New 
Bermuda or Bermuda Hundred, while he also took over the neck on the south 
side, naming this Bermuda City. Other hundreds were laid out up and down the 
river and palisaded in until within a few years the Indians had been driven off 
the banks of the James. 

At the same time that Gates and Dale were providing for the future food 
supply of the colony, they were insuring the preservation of law and order. 


On his arrival Dale had prochiimed a strict code of hiw, derived from his 
military experience in the Lovv' Countries, and known in history as "Dale's 
Laws." Severe indeed they were, even by the harsh standards of the times, but 
the experience of the "starving time" had shown the strict necessity for dis- 
cipline. George Percy, who knew what it was like to try to control a lawless 
crew, was awed by Dale's sternness. Some, Percy said, he "in a moste severe 
manner cawsed to be executed. Some he appointed to be hanged, some burned 
some to be broken upon wheles, others to be staked and some to be shott to 
deathe; all theis extreme and crewell tortures he used and inflicted upon 
them to terrefy the reste for attemptinge the like. . . ."° Among those put to 
death was Geoffrey Abbots, a veteran soldier who had come over in the 
First Supply, become Captain John Smith's loyal sergeant, and had survived 
the "starving time," only to be executed for mutiny. Smith commented regret- 
fully, "It seemes he hath been punished for his offences that was never 
rewarded for his deserts."* 

With rebellion suppressed, Gates and Dale gradually mitigated their 
harsh rule by concessions to freedom. The widespread cornfields, straggling 
along the river bank, could not be supervised enough to make them produc- 
tive, since the colonists, who were working for the company, showed a human 
tendency to do as little work as possible. The governors therefore decided 
to improve production by introducing the spirit of private enterprise. Each 
man with sufficient responsibility was allotted three acres of ground to work 
for himself, for which he paid a rent of two and a half barrels of corn a year 
and one month's service. The rest worked the company's fields six hours a 
day for eleven months a year, being fed out of the company's stores in addi- 
tion to what they could raise in their own gardens in their spare time. 

The basic weakness of the colony from the standpoint of the company was 
that it still had not produced a profitable staple. The supply ships went home 
as in the first years loaded with timber, sassafras, and deerskins, worth scarcely 
enough to pay the sailors' wages. The glasshouse built in 1608 had long since 
tumbled into ruins, and the few tons of iron the colonists managed to pro- 
duce were unloaded through the agency of Sir Thomas Smith on the East 
India Company. The silk grass harvested at Kecoughtan was fit only for 
rope, and wine made from the local grapes proved undrinkable, even in 
Virginia. None of the products on which the company had pinned its hopes 
had flourished. 

No one had thought of raising tobacco, for, although smoking had been 
known in England since the days of the Roanoke colonies, it was still regarded 
as a passing fancy, and Sir Thomas Smith had taken no notice of the steadily 
increasing imports of tobacco from the Spanish West Indies. It was only an 
accident that among the 1609 castaways in the Bermudas was a pipe-smoker 
named John Rolfe, who found the tobacco grown by the Virginia Indians 


too bitter for his taste. In search of a milder variety, he managed to obtain 
some seeds from the West Indies, which he planted in 1612. In spite of 
Rolfe's crudely experimental methods of cultivation and curing, he produced 
a smokable leaf, and in 1613 a number of his neighbors tried out the new 
crop, some of which was shipped to England the following year. In spite of 
its poor quality the London merchants were able to find a market for the 
Virginia tobacco, which at three shillings a pound was the most valuable 
export the colony had produced. Soon the settlers were all making tobacco 
with such concentration that Governor Dale had to order them not to neglect 
their cornfields. 

Rolfe meanwhile was also helping the colony solve another important 
problem, ending the Indian wars which had continued intermittently ever 
since Captain John Smith had left the colony in 1609. In the spring of 1613 
Captain Samuel Argall, who had returned to Virginia and been placed in 
charge of trading in the Chesapeake, had found Powhatan's favorite daughter, 
Pocahontas, visiting with the Potomac Indians. Seeing her as a valuable 
hostage to force the savage chieftain into submission, Argall had bribed the 
Potomac chief to inveigle her on board his ship, whereupon he carried her 
off to Jamestown, which she had not seen in four years. There she was to 
remain for a year as a not unwilling prisoner, a strikingly handsome princess 
in her scanty savage dress, winning hearts with her naive ways and youthful 
somersaults. One heart she won was that of John Rolfe, a widower since the 
death of his first wife shortly after she reached Virginia in 1610. He wrote 
that with Pocahontas "my hartie and best thoughts are, and have a long time 
bin so entangled, and inthralled in so intricate a laborinth, that I was even 
awearied to unwinde my selfe thereout.'"' He became convinced that it was 
his duty to convert her to the Christian faith, and she was duly baptised 
Rebecca, the first Virginia Indian to be baptised since Don Luis, and the first 
ever baptised in Virginia.* Having won her soul, Rolfe then proceeded to win 
her hand, and about April 5, I6l4, the couple were married at Jamestown. 
Although Powhatan did not come to the wedding himself, he sent his brother 
and two sons as witnesses and later agreed to a peace with the whites which 
was to last as long as he lived. 

Although Governor Dale, left in full charge after the departure of Gates 
early in I6l4, complained that the colony was being neglected, he was for- 
tunate that new settlers had not been sent in large numbers since 1611. 
Virginia needed a respite from the annual flood of newcomers who perished 
so quickly from sickness and under-nourishment. Men on their private allot- 
ments could and did now raise enough grain to feed themselves, but their 
annual rents were too small to build up any reserves in the company's store. 

* Manteo — like Virginia Dare — was christened at Roanoke: by whom.'' See footnote, page 332. 
(Editor's Note) 


The colony continued to benefit by the company's neglect until Dale himself 
sailed for England in I6l6, leaving the governorship in the hands of George 
Yeardley. Yeardley relaxed Dale's harsh laws with the inevitable result that 
factionalism once more began to reappear. 

At the same time the company in England was beginning to have troubles 
of its own. The main reason it had not continued its efforts in Virginia was 
that it had not been able to collect on many of the pledges made in 16 10 and 
l6ll, in spite of law suits brought to enforce payment. In default of these 
promised funds it had resorted to other expedients such as trying an unsuc- 
cessful lottery. Some of the major investors, including Sir Thomas Smith, had 
formed new partnerships to carry on the colonization of the Bermudas and the 
tobacco trade with Virginia. 

The other adventurers seem to have shown little interest in the management 
of the company until I6l6, when the time arrived for the distribution of 
dividends on the joint-stock of 1609, promised at the end of seven years. By 
that time the memories of the disasters of the early years at Jamestown had 
been overshadowed by the prosperity of the Bermuda settlements and the 
promise of Virginia tobacco, and the investors were prepared to expect some 
profitable return. When the company instead asked them to pay in another 
£12 lOs., the disappointed stockholders began complaining about misman- 
agement and special favors granted to insiders and demanded an investigation 
of the company's books, which were indeed in a state of confusion. 

The confusion of the records, however, was due not to chicanery but to 
the even greater confusion of the company's finances. All its capital had long 
been spent, and it was now deep in debt. The only thing it could offer in 
return for the new assessment was fifty acres of land in Virginia, an offer it 
also made to any new investor. It also gave another incentive to private in- 
vestment by promising another fifty acres of land for each person transported 
to Virginia, the birth of the headright system, which was to become the basis 
for the distribution of land in the colony for a century. Since it was necessary 
to go to Virginia to profit from this land, most of the persons accepting the 
offer at this time were old planters like Samuel Argall, Captain John Martin, 
and Ralph Hamor. The plan generally used was for several of the adventurers 
to pool their holdings in a single joint-stock and set up a large plantation 
worked by a number of servants on the same basis as the whole colony during 
its early years. 

Argall himself went out in 1617 as governor, taking with him John Rolfe 
and his Indian bride who had come to England with Dale the year before, 
but Pocahontas died on the way down the Thames and was buried at Graves- 
end, her infant son Thomas being left at Plymouth. Argall on his arrival 
was much displeased at the loose ways the colonists had fallen into under 
Yeardley's administration. There were only four hundred persons in the 


colony, fifty-four of them servants of the company. He found the church at 
Jamestown fallen down as usual, only a few houses still standing, and the 
streets planted in tobacco. He was horrified to see that the Indians had the 
run of the town and were being trained in firearms; Yeardley had even made 
a soldier out of one of them. Argall quickly restored discipline although not 
without many complaints from the colonists, who preferred their own inde- 
pendent ways. The next year 240 new settlers arrived, placing a heavy burden 
on the food supply, and Argall dispatched a warning back to England that 
provisions must be sent along with the "great multitudes" the company was 
planning to send in 1619. 

The "great multitudes" were to be the result of a new policy which the 
discontented stockholders were forcing on the company and which brought 
about the ousting of Sir Thomas Smith as treasurer and his replacement by 
Sir Edwin Sandys. Instead of the fifty acres for an additional payment of 
£12 10s. offered in I6l6, the company now more generously promised an 
immediate hundred acres for each £12 10s. paid in the past with another 
hundred acres to be given later. The same grants would also be given to the 
"ancient planters." The company also planned to free the settlers from its claim 
to their service and even to eliminate taxes by setting up four corporations 
or boroughs, James City, Charles City, Henrico, and Kecoughtan, in which 
three thousand acres would be reserved for the company and cultivated by 
tenant farmers, whose rents would cover the company's expense. In addition, 
10,000 acres would be set aside as an endowment for a "University and 
College." The strict martial law of the past was also to give way to a more 
democratic form of government; each of the "boroughs" in the colony was 
to be permitted to elect "burgesses" to sit with the governor and his council 
in a general assembly. To put these new reforms into effect, the company sent 
out as governor George Yeardley, who had won popularity in Virginia by his 
liberal rule. 

When Yeardley arrived at Jamestown in April, 1619, and took over the 
government from Argall, he issued a proclamation carrying out the company's 
orders. All those who had arrived before Dale's departure in I6l6 were to be 
freed of further obligations to the company's service, and Dale's laws were 
now to be replaced by laws made by the settlers themselves. At the governor's 
summons the inhabitants of eleven plantations each chose two burgesses to 
represent them at the first meeting of the first democratically-elected legis- 
lature in America at Jamestown on July 30, 1619- 

The General Assembly gathered in the church, which for once was not 
falling down, a tribute to Argall's administration. Establishing an American 
precedent, it opened its meeting with prayer, said by the Reverend Richard 
Buck, an "ancient planter" who had been one of the Bermuda castaways with 
Yeardley. The next step, also to become an American custom, was to swear 


in the newly-elected burgesses and check their credentials. Captain Ward was 
challenged by Speaker John Pory on the ground that he was a "squatter," 
never having obtained legal title to his land from the company, but the 
burgesses decided that in view of his loyal service to the colony he should 
be allowed to take his seat, provided that he obtain a patent before the next 
meeting of the assembly. Governor Yeardley challenged the burgesses repre- 
senting Captain John Martin on the ground that a clause in his patent ex- 
empted his men from obeying the colony's laws, and Martin was thus excluded. 
Having divided themselves into committees, the burgesses then proceeded to 
consider the charter sent out from England. 

In their proceedings the burgesses demonstrated that Virginia had made 
remarkable progress in mastering the difficult art of self-government since the 
first years of dissension and mutiny. They took up the important question 
of land titles, asking about the validity of grants which had already been 
made. They pointed out that they could not pay quitrents in cash to the 
treasurer in London and requested that provision be made for them to be paid 
in commodities in Virginia. 

Drawing up the first set of laws concerning the Indians to be enacted in 
America, they established a sound Indian policy. To protect the redskins from 
the whites, any oppression of the savages was forbidden, and, to enforce that 
rule, anyone going among the Indians was required to have a license from 
the governor or the commander of his plantation. To protect the whites from 
the redskins, the sale or gift of weapons to the savages was prohibited under 
the penalty of death, in spite of the fact that Governor Yeardley himself 
had been the first to give the Indians firearms, and the company was warned 
to be cautious in its plans for civilizing the natives, as it would be dangerous 
to have many of them in the midst of the English, unless they were kept 
under close guard. Out of the experience of twelve years the settlers had 
evolved the principles which were to govern the relations between the whites 
and the Indians as long as the Indians remained a threat. 

The most delicate question the burgesses had to take up was colonial 
trade, since the company planned to continue the operation of its magazine, 
or company store, which had already stirred up the complaints which were 
to become standard with the Virginia planters over the next centuries: The 
merchants paid too little for tobacco and charged too much for the goods 
they sold. The council in London had attempted to adjust both grievances by 
limiting the mark-up on goods brought from England to a modest 25 per cent 
and fixing the price of tobacco at three shillings a pound for first class and 
half that for second class. The company had also relaxed its monopolistic 
control by permitting the private plantations, like Captain John Martin's, to 
ship their tobacco independently and by authorizing the settlers to purchase 
from individuals such commodities as the company store did not have. To 


make sure that the company did not change this hberal polic7, the burgesses 
were careful to turn what had been merely instructions to the governor into 
the law of the colony. At the same time they protected the company against 
poor quality tobacco by enacting the first tobacco inspection laws in America. 

The General Assembly, however, shared the belief of the London backers 
that the tobacco boom was too good to last. One of the few things on which 
King James I and Sir Edwin Sandys agreed was that the colony could not 
be built upon smoke, and the best the planters hoped was that the tobacco 
fad would not die out before they had discovered some more profitable com- 
modity. As a safeguard for the future, every settler was enjoined to put out 
each year six mulberry trees for the feeding of silkworms and ten grapevines 
for the production of wine. The planters were also requested to experiment 
with silk-grass, hemp, flax, and aniseed. Furthermore, every man was required 
to protect the colony's ever-scanty food supply by keeping on hand a barrel 
of corn per person. 

The first meeting of the General Assembly was an auspicious beginning 
for what promised to be a golden age for the colony. The company under 
Sandys's vigorous leadership began a tremendous effort to turn into reality 
all of Hakluyt's dreams for Virginia. The old lottery was revived and pushed 
with such energy that it brought in £21,776 in three years; several thousand 
pounds were also subscribed towards the support of the College at Henrico 
and other charitable projects. As fast as the money came in it was spent to 
build up the colony. In the three years from 1619 to 1621 more than 3500 
new settlers were sent out to Virginia by the company and investors in private 
plantations. Among them were many specially selected experts, like the 
winemakers of Languedoc, intended to bring Virginia wine to perfection, 
and the men from Hamburg, who were to set up sawmills to cut colonial 
lumber. A Frenchman from La Rochelle was enlisted to start a saltworks, 
and silkworm eggs were shipped to feed on Virginia mulberries. Shipwrights 
were sent to build ships, a new glass furnace and a pottery kiln were con- 
structed. The biggest investment of all was in an iron furnace, on which 
some five thousand pounds were spent. 

Sandys' program showed magnificent vision, but it was carried out with 
such reckless optimism that only uninterrupted good luck could have rendered 
it successful. Instead Sandys encountered almost uninterrupted ill fortune. 
To keep costs down, emigrants were crowded into ships with inadequate 
supplies with the result that they got sick on the way over and starved after 
they arrived. Although no one bothered to record the number of deaths, the 
3500 immigrants of 1619-1621 produced a net increase of less than 300 in 
the colony's population; making allowance for those who returned to Eng- 
land, the figures still indicate that nearly nine out of ten newcomers died 
within a year. It was an incredible casualty rate, one which would have 


earned any general a court martial on a field of battle, but for Sandys the 
tragic figures for each year were only a challenge to send out replacements 
next year, when everything was bound to go better. Even from the grim 
standpoint of economics, however, the loss was one the company could not 
afford; paying for ten servants and getting only one meant costs were in- 
supportably high. The fine experiments in the company's fields all languished, 
and even tobacco did not grow there, as the colonial officers appropriated 
the surviving tenants as their own allotment, leaving none for the company. 
On top of this came another blow when Parliament abolished the lottery in 

1621, depriving the company of its chief source of revenue. When the tobacco 
trade became subject to royal taxation in 1619, a large share of the profit 
from that commodity was diverted into the king's pocket, and the king further 
restricted the trade by limiting tobacco imports. When the Sandys faction in 
1622 attempted to solve this problem by contracting to collect the tax for 
the king, the group was denounced by its enemies for attempting to monop- 
olize the tobacco trade, and the contract was canceled. 

While this controversy was still going on, news arrived in England of the 
greatest disaster that had yet struck the colony, the famous Indian massacre 
of 1622. Ever since the marriage of Pocahontas in I6l4 the colonists had 
been living on such a friendly basis with the savages that they had even for- 
gotten their own warning to the company in 1619. Not even the death of old 
Powhatan made any difference, for his successor, Opechancanough, preserved 
the peace. Opechancanough was cordial enough to discuss religion with 
George Thorpe, who as governor of the College lands was responsible for 
the conversion of the Indians. Thorpe built the chief an English-style house 
with a lock on the door, which the savage king delightedly locked and un- 
locked a hundred times a day, but was not able to persuade Opechancanough 
to be baptised. In spite of the failure to Christianize the savages, the whites 
welcomed them into their homes on a basis of social equality, inviting them 
to sit at their tables and sleep in their beds. Plantations straggled up and 
down the river without any regard for defense, since the Indian menace 
seemed to have ended. 

Murders and thefts there were still occasionally, but these were quickly 
settled by a brief show of force, and the one which occurred early in March, 

1622, seemed no different from its predecessors. A stalwart Indian, known 
to the whites as Jack of the Feather and famed among the savages for his 
magical power to escape injury from English bullets, had set out on a trading 
expedition with a man named Morgan and a few days later returned to 
Morgan's house wearing Morgan's cap but without Morgan. Two of Morgan's 
young servants charged Jack with murdering their master and in the midst 
of their cross-examination wounded him fatally. When Opechancanough 
protested at the murder of one of his chief men, the new governor, Sir 


Francis Wyatt, refused to give liim any satisfaction on the grounds that Jack 
deserved his fate, and the savage chieftain apparently accepted this reply. 

Secretly, however, Opechancanough vi'as plotting a terrible revenge. On 
Good Friday morning the Indians at his command treacherously attacked the 
settlements all along the James. The unsuspecting George Thorpe was among 
the first to fall, still believing the savages meant no harm. Altogether 347 
persons were slain in the first attack, including Captain Nathaniel Powell, 
who had come in 1607 and survived all the earlier hardships. The settlements 
around Jamestown were saved from surprise through a warning given them 
by a Christianized Indian. Fortunately, too, the Indians had grown so un- 
accustomed to war that they quickly ran away whenever they encountered 
any resistance. 

As long as the colonists remained on their guard, they did not need to 
fear a renewed attack, but the problems of defense required concentrating the 
population. All the settlers left on the outlying plantations were ordered to 
abandon them and move to a few selected strong points. This meant aban- 
doning their fields and even their livestock, since there were not enough boats 
to transport the cattle. The result was a food shortage, and the colonists 
were once more reduced to living off oysters. On top of that 800 newcomers 
arrived, and 600 of them died during the summer. 

Among the arrivals that year was Captain Nathaniel Butler, who, havmg 
just finished a term as governor of the Bermudas, decided to visit Virginia to 
see how the sister colony was progressing. Arriving at that disastrous moment, 
he was horrified at what he found in contrast to the rosy picture the company 
had been painting in England. On his return home he wrote a report on 
The Unmasked Face of Our Colony in Virginia, full of exaggerated criticism. 
The company hastily produced a reply, denying Butler's charges, but the old 
Smith faction was already demanding an investigation. On May 9, 1623, a 
royal commission was appointed, which accused the company of doing nothing 
to help the settlers in their dangerous condition. Stung into action, the Sandys 
group subscribed £4,000 to send supplies, the first money the investors had 
been called upon to pay into the company since Sandys had taken charge, 
but they were too late to help themselves, if not the colonists. 

In July, 1623, the royal commission made its report, bringing out the facts 
about the high death rate and the unhappy condition of the colonists who 
remained alive. With some degree of unfairness, they blamed the state of 
affairs on the Sandys management and recommended a restoration of the 
original plan of 1606, which preserved royal control of the government of 
the colony. The king thereupon offered the company a new charter, which 
would allow it to retain its property rights but transfer the government to 
the king. The Sandys group, however, resolved to fight the contest out in the 
courts, rejecting the king's offer by an overwhelming vote in October. 


In order to gather evidence for the legal battle, James appointed five com- 
missioners, including two future governors, John Harvey and Samuel Mathews, 
to go to Virginia. Their arrival in the colony created alarm among the 
settlers, since the king's commissioners attributed the difficulties to too much 
"popular" government both in the company and in the colony and the king 
therefore could be expected to abolish the general assembly. The assembly in 
defense of the Sandys group drew up a Tragical Relation, condemning the 
Smith administration. "And rather then to be reduced to live under the like 
Govment," they told the king, "we desire his Ma"° that Commissioners may 
be sent over, w"' authoritie to hange us."* 

The assembly's appeal did not save the company, for the king was resolved 
to "liberate" the settlers from the company's rule, whether they wanted to 
be liberated or not. In May, 1624, the chief Justice of England upheld the 
king's right to seize the charter. The Sandys group petitioned the House of 
Commons to come to their aid in this constitutional battle, but the Commons 
obeyed James's request "not to trouble themselves with this petition." In 
June the courts forced the company to surrender its charter, and the king 
appointed a commission to take over the government of Virginia. 

Sandys' followers, however, still refused to abandon their fight. When 
James's death in March, 1625, brought an automatic end to the Virginia 
commission he had appointed, they attempted to persuade the new king, 
Charles I, to restore their powers and to that end prepared a statement of 
their case, the well-known Discourse of the Old Company. Charles offered 
them the same proposal that his father had suggested in 1623, but the ad- 
venturers complained that they could not invest money in Virginia with 
security unless they could control its government. The question was revived 
again in 1631 with the same results. By that year, however, the colony itself 
had become opposed to the restoration of the company, and, when the ques- 
tion was brought up again in 1639, the assembly decreed that any settler 
who advocated such a measure should be subject to the confiscation of his 
entire estate. 

The reason for this remarkable transformation in public opinion in Vir- 
ginia was a series of happy accidents which kept the king from interfering 
in the colony's affairs and left the settlers free to govern themselves. When 
James I took over in 1624, he continued Governor Wyatt in power as a 
temporary measure. When Charles I succeeded to the throne, he was too busy 
to pay attention to Virginia and allowed Wyatt to remain with the same 
authority as before. When Wyatt retired in 1626, Charles appointed former 
Governor Yeardley to take his place with instructions to continue the same 
form of government as before until such time as the king could take up the 
study of Virginia. As it happened, Charles I was to lose his head before he 

Va. 2—23 


ever turned it to this subject, and Virginia benefited from a period of salutary 

In the same way the General Assembly managed to survive the threat of 
imminent death through the loyal support of Wyatt and Yeardley. The in- 
structions given by James I in 1624 did not specifically continue the assembly 
but on the other hand they did not specifically abolish it. Wyatt therefore 
compromised by having the people elect delegates to a convention, which met 
with the council as the House of Burgesses had done and was recognized as 
an unofficial law-making body. Yeardley himself went to England in 1625 to 
ask for royal acknowledgment of the right to choose a House of Burgesses, 
but Charles did not yield until 1627. At that moment, when he was financially 
hard-pressed, he decided to ask the colony to grant him a monopoly of the 
tobacco trade and authorized a General Assembly to be chosen to consider 
his request. Although the assembly rejected the proposal, the colony thereafter 
considered this permission as recognition of the legal existence of the assembly 
and continued to elect burgesses without any further requests for royal ap- 

The custom of these years likewise strictly limited the powers of the gov- 
ernor. Under the easy-going ways of Yeardley and Wyatt, the governorship 
had been reduced from the dictatorship it had been under Delaware and 
Dale to a mere presiding office, as it had been under the instructions of 1606. 
Practice required him to be bound by the decision of the majority of the 
council and even deprived him of the double vote the president of the council 
had had in 1606; the governor voted only in case of a tie. These customs 
were to confound the first non- Virginian royal governor, Sir John Harvey, 
who considered them nonsensical, and had finally to be shipped back to 
England as a prisoner for defying the council's authority. 

The colony quickly learned likewise to handle its economic affairs without 
the company's helping hand. The company had, in fact, ceased its efforts to 
send settlers after the suspension of the lottery in 1621, and immigration 
thereafter was financed privately. Although the company had intended to 
stop the headright subsidy to immigration in 1625 and the king did not 
authorize its continuance, the colony kept it going until it was at last given 
royal recognition in 1634. With the headright system providing them with 
both land and labor, the colonists forgot the other dreams of the company 
days and industriously cultivated tobacco, laying the foundation for future 


Notes on Chapter XXXI 

N.B. See remark at beginning of Chapter I notes. 

1. The charter is printed in Brown, Genesis of the United States, I, 46-63, as are most of the other 
documents dealing with this period; still others are included in his First Republic. In addition to 
Brown, the two important sources are Arber and Bradley, eds.. The Travels and Works of Captain 
John Smith and Kingsbury, ed., The Records of the Virginia Company of London. For the ordinary 
reader the most important documents are brought conveniently together in Tyler, ed.. Narratives 
of Early Virginia, 1606-1623. 

Since the facts in this chapter are so well known, footnotes have been kept to a minimum. 
In this chapter, as in the preceding one, the dates throughout are given according to the Old 
Style, or Julian, calendar, in use in England and the English colonies until 1752; for the New 
Style, or Gregorian calendar, add ten days to the date given. Contemporary English practice, 
which began the New Year on Annunciation Day, March 25, has been disregarded in favor of 
the modern custom of beginning the year on January 1 ; in other words, events occurring 
between January 1 and March 25 have been dated in the new year, rather than in the old one. 

2. Brown, op. cit., I, 86. 

3. William Simmonds, Proceedings of the English Colony, in Tyler, op. cit., p. 122. 

4. This account follows the story as told in Smith's True Relation, written in April, 1608. The 
story of how Powhatan threatened to kill him on this occasion only to be persuaded by 
Pocahontas to save his life appears for the first time in his Generall Historie, written in 1624. 
Those who prefer the more romantic version insist that Smith forgot or concealed the incident 
in his original narrative. 

5. Quoted in Hatch, The First Seventeen Years : Virginia, 1607-1624. 

6. Smith, Generall Historie, Book IV, in Tyler, op. cit., p. 303. 

7. Ibid., p. 240. 

8. Ibid., p. 425. 

Chapter XXXII 

The Jamestown Exposition and Festival and the Norfolk Naval Base 


THE COINCIDENCE OF the constantly recurring number "seven" in 
dates connected with Lower Tidewater is truly remarkable.' Thus the 
year 1957 was the "even-number" anniversary for many happenings 
of importance to this area. In previous chapters we have noted, for example, 
the 370th anniversary of Raleigh's grant to Sir Thomas Smith, White's voyage 
to Roanoke, the planting of the "Lost Colony," and the birth of Virginia Dare 
(1587); we have also called attention to the 350th anniversary of the land- 
ings at Cape Henry and Point Comfort, the explorations of Hampton Roads 
and James River, and the founding of Jamestown (l607). Other such an- 
niversaries of lesser importance — but not less interesting — could be added: 
for instance, the 460th anniversary of Cabot's voyage (1497); the 430th 
anniversary of the first "Padron general" map of the Atlantic coast (1527); 
the 340th anniversary of the death of Pocahontas, of the founding of the 
two important plantations of Smith's Hundred and Martin's Brandon, of the 
accession of Governor Argall, and of the erection of the first permanent 
Anglican church building at Jamestown (1617); the 330th anniversary of 
the death of Sir George Yeardley (1627); the 320th anniversary of the 
establishment of the Upper and Lower Counties of New Norfolk, and of the 
first grant for the land which was later to become the site of Norfolk Town 
(1637). In this concluding chapter we wish to pause for a while to com- 
memorate two more important dates: the 50th anniversary of the Jamestown Ex- 
position of 1907 (itself the 300th anniversary of the Jamestown Settlement), 
and the 40th anniversary of the establishment — on the Exposition site — of 
the great United States Naval Base of Hampton Roads in 1917. 

The site chosen for the Exposition of 1907 had taken on great local his- 
torical and strategic importance with the passage of the years. It was one 
of the first harbor sites viewed by the first settlers after they had landed 
at Cape Henry in April, 1607, and lay on the path of exploration of Captain 
John Smith in the following year. The first land grant here was in 1620 to 
Captain William Tucker, Commander of Kecoughtan (Hampton), where his 
principal residence was. Within a few years other grants were made, and 


by 1635 three individuals had settled here, whose names will serve as a 
perpetual memorial though their recognizable descendants have long since 
disappeared: Thomas Willoughby is remembered in the name of the bay 
and beach to the north of the United States Naval Air Station; Francis Mason, 
in that of the creek whose mouth (now filled in) was on Willoughby's Bay 
at Breezy Point; and Henry Seawell gave his name to the point which came to 
be known as "Mr. Seawell's Pointe" before 1640. On this point was built — 
starting in 1638 — the first parish church in Lower Norfolk County, the site 
of which was near the main gate of the United States Naval Base, though 
its exact location has been lost in new construction. Mr. and Mrs. Seawell 
were buried before February, 1644/5, in the chancel of this little parish 
church near their home at Seawell's Point. They were allied by marriage to 
the Mason clan by the marriage of their daughter to Mason's son, and in 
the fourth generation the marriage of a Mason daughter to a Willoughby son 
united the blood lines of all three of these early settlers.* 

Though the Willoughby, Mason and Seawell names are still with us, 
other names which were early associated with this area have disappeared. 
There was Thelaball's Creek, a branch of Mason's Creek where Chambers 
Field (formerly East Field) now is; there was Boush's Creek where old 
Chambers Field is; and farther to the south there was Tanner's Creek which 
now goes by the glamorous title of Lafayette River. James Thelaball and 
Samuel Boush were respectively brother-in-law and son-in-law of Colonel 
Lemuel Mason, and Daniel Tanner of Canterbury was an early (a. 1637) 
settler on the creek which formerly bore his name. 

Seawell's Point was connected with Hampton Town by a ferry as early 
as 1705, and this service across Hampton Roads was not discontinued until 
1957 with the opening of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel system. One of 
the earliest public roads in Lower Norfolk County was Seawell's Point Road, 
second in age only to Princess Anne Road; it was, as its name indicates, the 
road to Seawell's Point. It branched off the road from Norfolk Town to 
Lynnhaven River — Princess Anne Road — at the place now called Fox Hall, 
followed a northward route through Old Town Crossing (now Norview Five 
Points) to a point where it turned westward and is now disguised under the 
name of Little Creek Road. From there it followed the latter's present course 
to what is now Hampton Boulevard with the exception of one four-block 
stretch where the road was straightened, leaving a part of the old road to 
the north that is now called Brantham Road. At Hampton Boulevard it con- 
tinued straight across at its intersection with Daniel Avenue and through 
the corner of Cloncurry Road and Wilson Avenue, turning north where a 

* Col. Lemuel Mason (d. 1702) and Ann Seawell (d. 1706); Thomas Willoughby IV (d. 
1753) and Ann, daughter to Thomas Mason (d. 1711). Fo.r more complete details, see Chapters 
X and XI. 


section of about three-eighths of a mile survives under the name "Old 
Sewells Point Road" near the Standard Oil docks and can still be seen on 
City Planning Commission maps. From there it continued north by east cross- 
ing Hampton Boulevard at Ninetieth Street and entering the present Naval 
Base near where Bacon Avenue reaches its south boundary. 

As the center of population moved away from the Bay Shore and up the 
rivers and creeks, SeawelFs Point lost its importance as the County's ec- 
clesiastical center. A "chapel of ease," built on Elizabeth River in 1640, 
became parish church about 1655, and the former church at Seawell's Point 
was reduced to chapel status at that time. Soon the original 1638 building 
was abandoned, when a new chapel — the Tanner's Creek Chapel — was built 
(l66l), a scant two and a half miles from the Seawell's Point site, at the 
head of Thelaball's Creek, five-eighths of a mile north of Seawell's Point 
Road. Henry Seawell, Jr., still owned land at the Point in 1665 which he 
sold then to James Wishard, later of Little Creek in Princess Anne; this same 
site in 1712 came into the possession of Lewis Conner. 

As has been noted elsewhere, Hampton Roads saw much naval activity 
during the Revolutionary War, not by the Continental Navy which was busy 
elsewhere, but by the Virginia State Navy. In the waters within view of 
Seawell's Point, the vessels of Virginia's Navy operated: Raleigh, Liberty, 
Patriot, Scorpion, Tartar, Dragon, Tempest, and many others. Seawell's Point 
witnessed the exploits of the Captains of this little Navy, such as Edward 
Travis, John Calvert, Richard Taylor, Caleb Hunter, Eleazer Callender and 
many others. Special mention in this regard should be made of Commodore 
James Barron of Hampton, senior officer of the Virginia State Navy, father 
of two Commodores, United States Navy, and grandfather of a Captain, 
C.S. Navy." Commodore James Barron, Jr., will be recognized as Captain of 
the frigate Chesapeake during her unfortunate encounter with H.M.S. Leopard 
in 1807, and one of the principals in the duel in which Commodore Stephen 
Decatur lost his life in 1820. 

One of the most daring naval exploits of the Revolution took place off 
Seawell's Point in 1781. This had to do with the escape of the privateer 
Marquis Lafayette from Nansemond River, where she was built, through the 
whole British fleet then anchored in Hampton Roads and out the Virginia 
capes. This ship was built within a half mile of Suffolk and owned by the 
firm of Willis Cowper & Company of that place; she was commanded by 
Captain Joseph Meredith and her first lieutenant was John Cowper (son of 
one of the owners) to whom we are indebted for her story. She was still on 
the stocks when the British under General Leslie arrived in Hampton Roads 
in October, 1780, and was hastily launched and scuttled to avoid capture. 
The ship was immediately raised by the British and taken to Gosport for 
fitting out, but General Leslie was ordered to evacuate Virginia and she was 


scuttled again. Raised by her owners, she was taken back to Nansemond River 
and fitted out, and was ready for the sea when the British under Benedict 
Arnold arrived in December. She was at this time placed under command 
of Captain Meredith and, though designed to carry twenty-six guns, was 
armed with only twelve six-pounders and manned by a crew of forty. 

The Marquis Lcijayette remained in Nansemond River until May, 1781. 
Early in that month. Captain Meredith and a Hampton pilot, Ross Mitchell, 
reconnoitering the British fleet, found them as follows: a ship-of-the-line, a 
frigate and a sloop at Newport News, two frigates and two sloops oflr 
Hampton bar, three men-of-war at the entrance to Elizabeth River near 
Seawell's Point, and several vessels near Old Point Comfort. In addition, 
there were eighty to a hundred transports and merchantmen anchored all 
over the Roads. On a moon-lit night with a strong ebb tide running, this 
daring skipper, with the aid of the pilot, steered his vessel through the 
combined British fleet and out the Capes to safety. Moving in complete 
silence — all conversation was forbidden — they passed within a quarter mile 
of the frigate off Newport News, and close enough to the transports to hear 
talking among their crews. Then proceeding by Old Point Comfort, they were 
hailed by a very large ship at anchor near Willoughby's Point, but no answer 
was given. In a very short time the Marquis Lafayette had cleared Cape 
Henry, and was off on the beginning of a successful — though short — career 
in the Atlantic.^ 

Within view of Seawell's Point — just four miles away — was fought the 
battle of Craney Island in June, 1813. The Confederate batteries at Seawell's 
Point — clearly marked on the 1863 map previously given — successfully stood 
off Federal naval attack in 1861, and remained unsilenced until abandoned 
when Norfolk was evacuated by Southern forces in 1862. These batteries were 
on both sides of the west end of what is now Admiral Taussig Boulevard; 
their remains were photographed for an album of views of Norfolk, published 
in 1902, and it was then noted that they consisted of "old cannon balls and 
broken cannon." Also within view of these shores was fought the first battle 
of iron-clads between C.S.S. Virginia (Merrimac) and U.S.S. Monitor in 
March, 1862. 

Apparently the first time the founding of Jamestown was commemorated 
was in 1807, its bicentenary. In mentioning this, Yonge quoted from a "Re- 
port on the Proceedings of the Late Jubilee at Jamestown, Virginia." Another 
celebration was held on the occasion of its 250th anniversary. This was on 
13 May 1857 on Jamestown Island itself, and those gathered there to par- 
ticipate in the celebration heard an address on the historic site and its 
significance by former President John Tyler.* 

Credit for originating the idea of a Tercentenary Exposition at or near 
Norfolk has been generally given to James M. Thomson, then owner of the 


Norfolk Dispatch which later combined with the Ledger. In May, 1901, 
Mr. Thomson wrote a letter to City Councilman John G. Tilton suggesting 
the creation of an official committee for promoting the idea. This was a very 
few short months after the Virginia General Assembly had authorized Gov- 
ernor J. Hoge Tyler to entertain bids for the honor of holding the Exposition 
in several parts of the State. "An organization soon was formed and an 
agreement reached with representatives of the communities around Hampton 
Roads to stage the exposition at Sewells [sic] Point," according to a recent 
newspaper article by Frank Sullivan. There was, of course, competition from 
other sections, but it was soon withdrawn in favor of the Hampton Roads 

Meanwhile the Norfolk real estate operators had not been idle. In June, 
1901, there was recorded the plat of a development to extend from Tanner's 
Creek (Lafayette River) all the way to "Willoughby Bay and to cover the 
area on both sides of what is now Hampton Boulevard.® This map gives an 
interesting picture of the area as it then was. The part which later became 
the Jamestown Exposition grounds was then actually laid out in blocks, though 
later considerably altered and modified. The proposed site of the Pine Beach 
Hotel was shown (labelled "Piney Beach Hotel") at what is now the north- 
west angle of Virginia Avenue and Gilbert Street. The original course of 
Seawell's Point Road, here called simply "County Road," was indicated with 
dotted lines running as has been mentioned above. Maryland Avenue, still 
so-called within the Naval Base, ran all the way to the bridge by the present 
Norfolk Yacht and Country Club; it is, of course, now called Hampton 
Boulevard, but at the time of the Exposition was named Jamestown Boulevard, 
and at its southern end curved through Larchmont (where it is now known 
as Jamestown Crescent) to join the extension of Colley Avenue. All the 
east-west streets (except that on the waterfront, now Dillingham Boulevard) 
were numbered, the highest — next to the waterfront — being 104th Street, 
present Admiral Taussig Boulevard was 99th Street, and the only one 
which today survives under such a numerical designation is 90th Street, the 
entrance to the Navy Recreation Park. Along Maryland Avenue (Hampton 
Boulevard) ran the "Norfolk and Atlantic Terminal Electric Rail Road," 
with a wide turnaround circle at its north end and a spur track to the pier 
or boat landing at the west end of 99th Street (Admiral Taussig Boulevard) ; 
this was the ferry landing for Newport News and was still called, by those 
of us who remember, the "Pine Beach Ferry" up to the time it was superseded 
by the Bridge-Tunnel system. The electric car line later became part of the 
now-defunct Virginia Railway and Power Company system and is said to have 
had its downtown terminus, at Atlantic Street. 

Though not entirely completed until later, the Exposition opened on 
26 April 1907. Official maps of that time show that it extended from Mary- 


land Avenue on the west to Boush Creek — now filled in — about a half-mile 
east of present Bainbridge Avenue, and from Willoughby (now Dillingham) 
Boulevard, which was then the waterfront, to 99th or Algonquin Street (now 
Admiral Taussig Boulevard) . The Exposition Buildings may be roughly 
divided into three groups: the Exhibits, the State Buildings, and the Amuse- 
ment Area. The first, arranged around and to the north of the present Fifth 
Naval District Headquarters Administration Building, contained exhibits of 
machinery, transportation, manufacturers, mines, liberal arts, education, his- 
tory, government, and many other things. The second group was composed 
of buildings erected by twenty-one states, two cities (Richmond and Balti- 
more), Alaska, Panama, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. 
They were generally speaking on the waterfront both to the east and west of 
the Exhibit Group. The third group — the Amusement Area — was known as 
"The War Path" and was located roughly on both sides of the present 
Gilbert Street between Bacon Street and Farragut Avenue. It was very much 
like a carnival midway and included many interesting shows, such as "San 
Francisco Fire," " Merriinac and Monitor," "Colonial Virginia," "Battle of 
Gettysburg," "101 Ranch Wild West Show," "Temple of Mirth," and 
"Shooting the Chutes," just to mention a few. As a child of four and a half 
at that time, this writer remembers only vaguely many things about the 
Exposition, but he has a very vivid recollection of the representation of the 
battle between Mernmac (Virginia) and Monitor, and the very realistic and 
frightening artillery fire that accompanied it. The Exposition contained a large 
frame hotel, the Inside Inn, where the BOQ on the east side of the north end 
of Maryland Avenue now is; it was so named because it was inside the 
Exposition Grounds, as opposed to the Pine Beach Hotel which was outside. 
The Jamestown Exposition was not really completed as far as construction 
went until September, and this was about two months before it closed on 
30 November 1907. It may not have been a financial success to its promoters, 
but it certainly furnished a considerable amount of entertainment for the 
local people and for out-of-town visitors during its few months of existence. 
When the exposition was over, many of the buildings were utilized as private 
residences; many others fell into disrepair owing to non-use, and soon dis- 
appeared. As early as 1912, just five years after the Exposition, a movement 
was underway, sponsored by local interests to have the Government take over 
the site and remaining buildings for a Naval Base. It was not until another 
five years had passed — a full decade after the Exposition year — that this 
movement bore fruit. It is undoubtedly true that the advent of World War I 
in the meantime did much to speed things up. On 15 June 1917, by Act of 
Congress the President of the United States was empowered to take possession 
of the Exposition site, and the Secretary of the Navy was directed to develop 
it as a Naval Operating Base, including piers, storehouses, oil-fuel storage, 


training station and recreation grounds for the fleet, and for other purposes. 
In implementation of the above Act, by Proclamation dated 28 June 1917, 
President Woodrow Wilson took possession of the Exposition site and placed 
it under the exclusive control of the Secretary of the Navy. A map of the 
site, which accompanied the proclamation, shows how few of the original 
Exposition buildings remained in 1917. There were only the Auditorium 
(site of present Administration Building) and its two wings, and the History 
Building adjacent to the west, together with some of the State buildings on 
the waterfront. The Pine Beach Hotel was still there, but very little else 
outside of the State Buildings which are mentioned below. 

In less than a year, great progress was made in developing the Base. A 
map made in April, 1918, shows the new developments in the way of barracks, 
mess halls, hospital, brigs, warehouses, shops, schools and hangars. Speaking 
of the latter, it is interesting that a very small area was designated as the 
"Aero Group," and this was the small germ from which the present Naval 
Air Station grew. The alphabetical designation of blocks on this map is still 
in use today. Only one pier (Pier 2) was then in existence, but plans for 
other piers and a submarine basin are shown, as well as the proposed reclama- 
tion of the water area to the north. 

The present Naval Base, with all its changes and new developments, is 
a far cry from the old Exposition Grounds. Nevertheless, it still bears many 
traces of its former appearance. In the late 1930's, the domed Auditorium 
and Convention Hall of the Exposition was destroyed by fire. It had served 
as a theatre and had housed Communications, the Base Post Office, and other 
miscellaneous activities. Its site is now occupied by the Fifth Naval District 
Headquarters Administration Building; its two wings, which were connected 
to the old building by arcades, now exist as separate buildings. Just to the 
west of this group is the History Building, now a gymnasium, and no other 
buildings in the Exposition exhibit group survive. Another landmark which 
recently disappeared was the Pine Beach Hotel. After having served as an 
Officers' Club, Marine Barracks, and for other purposes, it was dismantled 
early in World War II to make room for Building 143, the Naval Supply 
Center. No trace of the amusements on the War Path remains, although 
near that general area on the east of Maryland Avenue there are pieces of 
ornamental concrete work, which were probably fountains with flowers 
planted around them. One of these is just to the east of Gate 2, and another 
is at the corner of Morris Street. One featured showpiece of the Exposition 
was the miniature Steam Railroad, which was the joy of all the children who 
rode on it. Its locomotive was purchased by Colonel Elliott Springs, cotton 
mill owner, and still gives pleasure to its young passengers, in company with 
a similar engine built for the Charleston Exposition. These little engines are 
in Springs Park, a recreation area, near Lancaster, South Carolina. 


Of the State Buildings — built by and named for various States — there are 
several remaining on their original sites and others which have been moved. 
The best preserved group is that on Dillingham Boulevard in the block west 
of Farragut Avenue now used as Senior Ofificers' Quarters; starting at that 
corner and going west in the following order: Pennsylvania House,* now 
serving as the Commissioned Officers' Mess, a replica of Independence Hall, 
and recognizable in spite of additions, remarkable for the architectural detail 
of its decoration in cornices and paneling; Virginia House, a typical Colonial 
mansion; Maryland House, a graceful Colonial mansion, said to have been 
patterned after the home of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the 
Declaration of Independence — this building was planned to contain a room 
modeled after a chamber in the Old State House at Annapolis; Missouri 
House, another Colonial mansion; Ohio House, a stone house fashioned after 
"Adena," once this State's executive mansion; Georgia House, a reproduction 
of Bullock Hall at Roswell, birthplace of the mother of late President 
Theodore Roosevelt; West Virginia House, a Colonial mansion; and finally 
Delaware House, the only building in this group to have been moved from 
another site. Just across Bacon Street, the building now known as Quar- 
ters A-39 is labeled on Exposition maps as "Private Residence," and was 
almost certainly there before 1907. It is on almost the exact location of 
Mrs. Capps's residence shown on the Map of 1863, but it is not likely that 
this house was there as early as that. Other State buildings still standing, 
though not on their original sites are Illinois House on the north side of 
Powhatan Street, North Carolina House, New Hampshire House and Con- 
necticut House on Dillingham Boulevard east of Farragut Avenue. The 
Connecticut Building was modeled after the home of Colonel Benjamin 
Talmadge at Litchfield. All of the State Buildings mentioned above, which 
had been moved from their original sites, were in the area east of Bainbridge 
Avenue; in this locality there were many others, including re plicae of the 
colonial State Houses of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which were un- 
fortunately not preserved.^ 

One of the most attractive features of the present Naval Base is its 
abundance of ornamental and shade trees, some planted for the Exposition, 
and many which have been standing much longer. They give the area a 
mellowness and charm which is not found in recent planting. Many of the 
streets are lined with silver maples planted in regular rows; others are bor- 
dered less formally with old oaks, elms, pines, and other species. Of regretted 
memory is the "pine grove" shown on Exposition maps west of the north end 
of Maryland Avenue; it was part of the original heavy growth which gave 
the name to Pine Beach (or Piney Beach, its old-fashioned designation). 

* This and the following names are the present designations; at the time of the Exposition 
they were called "Pennsylvania Building," "Virginia Building," etc. 



No mention of trees would be complete without reference to the so-called 
Powhatan Oak, which stood in the area east of Bainbridge Avenue and 
north of Gilbert Street. The often-repeated story has been given wide circula- 
tion that when the Oak became diseased and had to be removed some years 


ago, human remains were found under its roots. They were tentatively iden- 
tified as Indian, and were reinterred on the same spot in a common coffin. 

Finally, the Parade Ground of the Exposition, "Lee's Parade," is still a 
parade ground today, though parking lots and tennis courts have encroached 
on its edges. Beside its flagstaff hangs the ship's bell of the U.S.S. Virginia, 
launched shortly before the Exposition — the date on the bell is 1906. Some 
of the trees which lined Lee's Parade remain; of particular interest are those 
few at its two far corners (southeast and southwest), which remind us that 
those two corners were in reality cut off at 45 degree angles, just as the 
maps show. 

As early as 1953, there was talk of a celebration for the approaching 
350th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement in 1957. It was decided that, 
to do justice to this momentous event, there should be collaboration between 
the United States Government and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Accord- 
ingly, there was established the Jamestown-Williamsburg-Yorktown Celebra- 
tion Commission by the Federal Government and the Virginia 350th Anni- 
versary Commission by the Commonwealth. These two Commissions were 



charged with determining the nature of the celebration and with planning 
and coordinating the events of which it would consist. There was organized 
also the "Virginia 350th Anniversary Celebration Corporation," which had 
the responsibility for the physical planning, promotion, construction and 

( Li/urieiy Norjolk Chamher of Commerce) 





business management of the celebration. Thus the "Jamestown Festival, 1607- 
1957," came into being. It was decided to localize the activities in this con- 
nection in an area adjacent to Jamestown Island — a little to the west of it 
— called "Festival Park." 

The park was designed to contain many appropriate exhibits, the two 
most important of which were the "Old World Heritage Exhibit" and the 
"New World Achievement Exhibit." The former portrayed events leading up 
to the planting of the Jamestown colony and the English heritage of Colonial 
Virginia; it was presented by the British Government at the invitation of the 


350th Anniversary Commission. The second represented the early colonial 
scene and the contribution made by Virginia-born men and women to the 
development of the New World. 

Probably the most novel and interesting features of the Jamestown 
Festival were full-sized working models of the three small vessels which 
brought the Colonists to these shores and the reconstruction of the fort which 
they built for their protection immediately upon their arrival. The observance 
of the 350th anniversary began on 17 March 1956 with the laying of the 
keel of Susan Constant (100 tons) at Curtis-Dunn Marine Industries Yard 
in West Norfolk. This was closely followed by Godspeed (40 tons) and 
Discovery (20 tons), and all three were launched and christened at the 
yard on 20 December 1956, the 350th anniversary of their departure from 
London. Successful trial runs were made in Susan Constant beginning on 
23 February 1957, the two smaller vessels having been completed and tested 
prior to that time. The three ships took part — both individually and collec- 
tively — in local commemorative exercises in various parts of the Common- 
wealth, but most of the time were moored at the Festival Park pier in front 
of James Fort for the inspection of visitors. 

James Fort — mentioned above — was a reconstruction of the first protective 
work undertaken by the Colonists in June, 1607, a month after their arrival 
at Jamestown. The original site has been eroded by the river and the recon- 
struction was placed on the river bank in Festival Park just a mile upstream. 
It was built as described by George Percy, a triangular log palisade with 
its long side toward the river and semi-circular artillery mounts at each 
corner; inside were rows of houses paralleling each side of the triangle and 
the church, guardhouse and storehouse in the center.* 

During the Jamestown Exposition of 1907, there had been held a Naval 
Rendezvous in Hampton Roads, with ships representing the then-important 
naval powers participating: England, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Japan, 
and many others. During the 1957 Festival, the period from 8 to 17 June was 
set aside for an International Naval Review on a much grander scale than 
the rendezvous of 1907. It was particularly appropriate to hold this review 
in Hampton Roads since Norfolk is headquarters for both the Atlantic Fleet 
and Supreme Allied Command Atlantic, and many of the nations invited 
to send representative vessels to the Review were members of the North 
Atlantic Treaty Organization. Among the United States Navy vessels par- 
ticipating were six carriers, two battleships, five heavy cruisers and twenty 
destroyers. Of twenty-seven foreign navies invited, seventeen sent representa- 
tives. The majority of them — eleven — were North Atlantic nations: Belgium, 
Canada, Denmark, France, England, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, 
Spain, Turkey; while the remainder — six — came from our good neighbors 
to the south: Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela. 


The combined fleet was moored in double line on both sides of Thimble 
Shoal channel and reached from Old Point Comfort to Lynnhaven Roads. 
It was a truly impressive sight to witness from a point of vantage on the 
shore at Willoughby Beach, the ships full-dressed with multi-colored flags 
during daylight hours, and some of them outlined in lights at night. The 
review proper took place on 12 June 1957, and the honor went to the guided- 
missile cruiser U.S.S. Caiiberm with the reviewing party embarked: the latter 
was led by Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson as representative of the 
President, Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Fleet and Supreme Allied Com- 
mander Atlantic Admiral Jerauld Wright, and Commander Second Fleet 
Vice Admiral Charles Wellborn, Jr., director of the review. Canberra, fol- 
lowed by U.S.S. Boston and Northampton, steamed to seaward to the accom- 
paniment of many gun salutes, and passed through the double line of vessels 
to its farthest point, then reversed course and returned to Hampton Roads; 
the whole operation consumed several hours. It was estimated that nearly 
two thousand small pleasure craft maneuvered on the fringe of the review, 
and with a minimum of mishaps (none of them serious), thanks to the 
excellent traffic planning and direction of the personnel and vessels of the 
Fifth United States Coast Guard District.® 


This, Friend Reader, is the History of Lower Tidewater Virginia. If your 
favorite person, subject, group or institution has been slighted, we have no 
apology: just remember this is a cross-section of the life — past and present — 
of an extensive area. We have strived for accuracy above all things, a com- 
modity sometimes scarce in historical writings. In this "do-it-yourself" age 
in which we live, it is almost literally true that every man and woman is his 
or her own historian. All they need is some favorite ancestor, community, 
church or other organization whose antiquity, priority or other superlative 
they wish to prove, and it matters not an iota that they have no training in 
or familiarity with the techniques and tools of research. As a result our 
newspapers and magazines are flooded with the greatest mass of historical 
misinformation of all time. 

In all truth it must be confessed that I am not without prejudice myself — 
no human being is. I love this little corner of the world in which I was born; 
I have traveled far afield but I am always glad to come back to it. From the 
front porch of the house where I spent many of my early years, I can see parts 
of most of the area whose history is contained in these pages: to the east, 
Cape Henry and Little Creek in Princess Anne; to the west. Old Point Com- 
fort, Newport News and Hampton; if I climbed to the roof (which I used 
to do when I wa? younger!) I could see the mouth of the Nansemond River 
and the distant shore of Isle of Wight; I can even see, in mind's eye, the 


reaches of Southampton, because I know it is there. There are few corners of 
this area with which I am not familiar: the beaches of Princess Anne, the 
swamps of Norfolk, the hallowed historic places of Elizabeth City, Warwick, 
and Isle of Wight, the roads and beauty spots of Nansemond and Southamp- 
ton — all have a place in my heart. 

So, Reader, I am not without prejudice and I make no apology for it. 
I only hope that you, too — be you native or visitor — will some day look more 
closely at Lower Tidewater Virginia. 

R. D. w. 

Notes on Chapter XXXII 
N.B. See remark at beginning of Chapter I notes. 

1. Unless otherwise specifically noted, sources for statements in this chapter may be found by 
referring to previous chapters under the appropriate heading. 

2. R. A. Stewart, Virginiii's Navy of the Retolutioii, pp. 144-8. 

3. Ibid., pp. 111-9. 

4. Yonge, Site of Old James Towne. pp. 58, 63-4, 68-9. 

5. Frank Blackwell in Norfolk Virgiiiian-PHot, 13 October, 1957. 

6. Norfolk County Records, Map Book 5, p. 66; the development was entitled "Norfolk on the 

7. Copies of the Exposition and early Naval Base maps and Presidential Proclamation are con- 
tained in the archives of the U. S. Navy's District Public Works Office. They were made 
available through the kindness of the late Jacob C. Pugh, special assistant to the District 
Public Works Officer, and of Mr. William A. W. Cramer, present chief of the Drafting and 
Design Division in the same activity. This writer had the privilege of knowing the late Mr. 
Pugh over a period of many years, especially during a tour of duty at Fifth Naval District 
Headquarters (1951-3). At the time of his death he was the oldest living civilian employee in 
point of service (though then recently retired) and had been at the Naval Base almost from 
its very beginning. Mr. Cramer, like this writer, well remembers the Exposition of 1907, and 
has moreover been officially connected with the Naval Base for about twenty-five years. The 
writer is also indebted to Postscripts, Jamestown Exposition, 7957, a booklet compiled by Miss 
Nancy Dickinson and Mrs. Grace Deans, respectively librarian and assistant at the Naval Station 

8. Information on the Jamestown Festival of 1957 comes chiefly from its Official Program, printed 
in Richmond by Whittet and Shepperson. See also Clarence Lane in Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 
2 March and 21 December 1956. and Perry Breon, Ibid., 24 February 1957. 

9. Richard M. Mansfield in Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 7 April 1957, and James Elliott, Ibid., 
13 June 1957; U. S. Naval Station Seabag, 13 June 1957. 

Va. 2—24 



N.B. For purposes of brevity and convenience, the following symbols are 
used in references to sources frequently cited: 

BAE, B Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 

C Calendar of Virginia State Papers 

DAB Dictionary of American Biography 

DNB Dictionary of National Biography 

G Georgia Historical Quarterly 

H Hening, Statutes at Large 

HAI Handbook of American Indians 

N Lower Norfolk County Antiquary 

NED Oxford New English Dictionary 

V Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 

W (1) William and Mary Quarterly (First Series) 

W (2) William and Mary Quarterly (Second Series) 

W (3) William and Mary Quarterly (Third Series) 

The usage of Swem's Virginia Historical Index is followed by giving volume number before 
the symbol and page numbers after. For example, 16W(2) 227-261 means "William and Mary 
Quarterly (Second Series), Volume XVI, pages 227-261." 

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Hampton Town and City Records, Hampton, 

Isle of Wight County Records, Isle of Wight. 

Lower Norfolk County Records (1637-1691), Portsmouth. 

Lynnhaven Parish Vestry Book (1723-1786), Princess Anne. 

Nansemond County Records, Suffolk. 

Newport News City Records, Newport News. 

Norfolk Borough and City Records (from 1784), Norfolk. 

Norfolk Borough Register (1736-1798), Norfolk. 

Norfolk County Records (from 1691), Portsmouth. 

Princess Anne County Records (from 1691), Princess Anne. 

Southampton County Records, Courtland. 

Virginia Land Office Records (from 1623), Richmond. 

Warwick County and City Records, Newport News. 

B. Contemporary Accounts (quoted from other sources) 

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(London, 1582) 
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Hamor, Ralph. A true discourse of the Present Estate of Virginia. (London, I6l6) 

Hariot, Thomas. A brief e and true report of the ne-w found land of Virginia. (Lom'-^n, 1588) 
Purchas, SamueL Purchas his Pilgrimage. (London, 1613) 

Purchas his Pilgrims. (London, 1625) 

Rolfe, John. A Relation of the State of Virginia. (London, 1616) 

Smith, John. A True Relation . . . of such occurrences and accidents of noate as hath happened 
in Virginia. (London, 1608) 

!Aap of Virginia with a Description of the Country, the Commodities, People, Gov- 
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The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England and the Somer Isles. (London, 1624) 

Spelman, Henry. Relation of Virginia, (c. 1611-1613) 

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Whitaker, Rev. Alexander. Good Newes from Virginia. (London, 1613) 

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Huntley, Frances Carroll. "The Seaborne Trade of Colonial Virginia in mid-Eighteenth Century: 

Port Hampton." 59V297-308 
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Jackson, Edgar B. "Southampton County Enters Third Century." Virginia and the Virginia 

County; September, 1950. 
James, Edward Wilson. "Extracts from the Records." 2W(1) 178-180 
King, George Harrison Sanford. "Virginia Militia Officers, 1698." 49V304 
Kyle, Louisa Venable. "A Countrywoman's Scrapbook: Cavalier William Moseley." Norfolk 

Virginian-Pilot, 19 January 1958. 

"A Countrywoman's Scrapbook: The Story of Poplar Hall." Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 

8 February 1953 

Mason, George Carrington. "The Colonial Churches of Isle of Wight and Southampton 
Counties." 23W(2)41-63 

"The Colonial Churches of Lynnhaven Parish, Princess Anne County, Virginia." 18W 


"The Colonial Churches of Nansemond County, Virginia." 21W(2) 37-54 

• "The Colonial Churches of Norfolk County, Virginia." 2lW(2) 139-156 

"The Colonial Churches of Warwick and Elizabeth City Counties, Virginia." 2lW 


"The Earliest Known Church of Elizabeth City Parish." 54V17-20 

— "The First Colonial Church of Denbigh Parish, Warwick County." 57V286-291 

Middleton, Arthur Pierce. "The Chesapeake Convoy System, 1662-1763." 3W(2) 182-207 
Mook, Maurice A. "The Anthropological Position of the Indian Tribes of Tidewater Virginia." 

"The Ethnological Significance of Tindall's Map of Virginia, 1608." 23W(2)371-408 

■ "Virginia Ethnology From an Early Relation." 23W(2) 101-129 

"Norfolk Naval Shipyard." BuShips Journal, U.S. Navy; August, 1953. 

Opel, John. "The First Virginians." 5 parts. Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 24-28 September 1956. 

Pearson, John. "The Fish and Fisheries of Colonial Virginia." 6 parts. 22W(2)213-220, 

353-360; 23W(2) 130-5, 278-284, 435-9 , 
Reding, Katherine. "Letter of Gonzalo M. de Canzo, June 28, 1600." 8G2 14-228 
Robbins, Dorothy Hillsman. "History and Growth of Isle of Wight County." Virginia and the 

Virginia County; June, 1953- 
Squires, W. H. T. "Norfolk in Bygone Days." Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch, a weekly (Thursday) 

column begun in August, 1934. 
Verner, Cooley. "The First Maps of Virginia." 58V3-15 
Whichard, Rogers Dey. "A Fort Beside the River." Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 24 December 1939. 

"The Norfolk Mace." Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 24 December 1939. 

"The Parish Church of Norfolk Town." Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 26 June 1940. 

"Norfolk Town's First Court House." Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 13 April 1941. 

"The Rhyme of the Witch's Duck: A Ballad of Lynnhaven." Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 

1 June 1941. 

"Norfolk Town's First Landowners." Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 22 June 1941. 

"Old Norfolk's Early Streets and Byways." Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 4 January 1942. 

"The Norfolk Academy." Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 11 January 1942. 


"New Light on an Old Mace." Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 28 March 1954. 

White, Herbert N. "Virginia Beach as it was in the Beginning." Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 
3 March 1938. 

General References Works Consulted 

Bardsley, Charles Wareing. English Surnames, Their Sources and Significations. (London, 1889) 

Calendar of Virginia State Papers. Vols. I-X. (Richmond, 1875-1892) 

Dictionary of American Biography. 22 vols. (New York, 1924-19'44) 

Dictionary of National Biography. 63 vols. (London, 1885-1900) 

Encyclopedia Britannica. 11th Edition. (New York and London, 1911) 

Handbook of American Indians. Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, 

Bulletin No. 30. (Washington, 1907) 
Oxford New English Dictionary. 12 vols. (Oxford, 1933) 
Webster's New International Dictionary. (Springfield, Mass., 1957) 



Abbot, II, 226 

Abbots, Geoffrey, II, 345 

Abyvon, George, I, 400, 411-12, 454 

Academy Lot, I, 406 

Accawmack, I, 89, 93, 234-35, 3^6 

Accidents I, 112, 346 

Accomack, I, 18, 89, 335-36, 426, 454 

II, 61-62, 259 
Accomack County, I, 40, 89, 137, 234-35 

II, 106, 220 
Ackiss, John, II, 70, 73 
Act for Ports and Markets, I, 240-41, 255, 


II, 146, 259 Air defense, II, 119 

Act for Towns or Burghs, 1705, 1, 341-42 Air Defense Command, I, 214 

depression, II, 150; 

fairs, II, 101-02 

Agricultural Society, Princess Anne 

County, II, loi 
Agricultural Society, State, II, 269 
Agriculture, II, 48, 100-02, 153-54, 178, 

186, 203, 205, 264-65, 268-69, 297- 

Aid, Federal, I, 180, 185; 

State, I, 1 80 

Air Brigade, Provisional, I, 212-13 

Air Corps, Army, General Headquarters, 

I 213; 

Tactical School, 1,212 

II, 259 
Act for Trade and Aianufacture, I, 257 

II, 146 
Adams Grove, II, 302 
Addison, Thomas, II, 137 
Admiral Taussig Boulevard, II, 360-62 
Admiral's map of 151 3, I, 2 
Admiralty Court, I, 132 
"Adventurers for Draining the Dismal 

Swamp," II, 182, 186-87 
Advertising, I, 135-36, 149-50 

II, 101-02 
Aerial spraying, I, 180 

Air Force, U.S., I, 213-16; 

bases, I, 179-80, 210-16; 

Department, I, 214-15; 

First, Second Bombardment 

Group, I, 213; 

First, Third Observation Squadron, 


First, Third Sea Search Attack 

Squadron, I, 213; 

Air Force Organization Act, 1,215 
Air Service Flying School, I, 212 
Air Service Section, U.S. Signal Corps, 
Aeronautical program, U.S. Army, I, Aircraft carriers, II, 25, 234, 241; 

210-16 carriers, atomic-powered, II, 242; 

Agnes Barton, II, 91 supercarriers, II, 242, 245 

Agnew, John, II, 144, 149, 162; Airfields, II, 104 

John, episode, II, 147-48, 159, 165- Airlines, I, 494 

66; II, 32, 244 

Stair, II, 148-49, 162, 166 Airplanes, I, 213-16, 494 

Agricultural agent, II, 298; II, 50, 194, 244 




Airports, I, 494 

II, 32, 50, 179, 206, 244, 300 
Ajacan Indians, II, 121 
Alabama Camp, II, 97 
Albemarle, I, 306 
Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, I, 286, 

308, 465 


Albemarle Sound, I, 3, 14-15, 17, 37-38, 

53-54, 219, 308 

II, 148, 160, 188, 292, 296, 311-12 
Albemarle Steam Navigation Company, 

II, 297 
Aldermen, Newport News, II, 227; 

• Norfolk Cit\% I, 459-60, 466, 502 

Alewife, I, 8 

Alexandria, II, 34 

Alexis, Grand Duke, II, 10 

Alford, George, I, 249, 253-54 

Alfred the Great, I, 81 

Alfriend, Richard J., II, 89 

Algernon, William de Percy, Lord, I, 

Algonquian Indian linguistic stock, I, 24- 

26, 33-39 passim 
Algonquin Park, I, 260 
Alien and Sedition Acts, I, 160 
Allamby, Thomas, I, 129 
Allan, John, I, 195-96 
Allegiance, oath, II, 71-72 
Allen, Ethan, I, 321; 

Henry, I, 139; 

■ Mary, I, 321; 

Thomas, I, 223-24 

Allmand, Edmund, I, 288, 435; 

Harrison, I, 433 

Allmand house, I, 433 

Allyon, Lucas Vasquez de, I, 49; 

expedition, I, 46-47 

Allvon's Land, I, 2 

Almond, J. Lindsav, Jr., II, 244 
Alonso, I, 50 

Amadas, Philip, I, 14, 17, 19, 52, 54 
II, 307-09, 311 

Ambergris, II, 231 

Ambulance Corps, iiith, I, 502 

America, II, 235 

American Bank and Trust Company, 

Suffolk, II, 174 
American Beacon and Norfolk and Ports- 
mouth Daily Advertiser, I, 452 

II, 291 
American Export Lines, II, 221 
American Legion, Braxton-Perkins Post 

No. 25,'^n, 226 
American Legion Museum, II, 234 
American Medical Association, I, 498 
American iMissionarv Association, I, 185 
American National Bank, Portsmouth, 

II, 36 
American Peanut Company, II, 298 
American Red Cross, I, 504 

II, 176, 224 
Americans, I, 300-07 

II, 82-84, 86 
Amish Mennonite Church, Kempsville, 

II, 95-96 
Amphibious Training Command, U.S. 

Atlantic Fleet, II, 103 
Amphibious Truck Company, U.S. 458th, 

II, 118-19 
Amphibious trucks, II, 118-19 
Anacock Creek, I, 335 
Ancient Artillery, Norfolk, I, 454 
Ancient planters, I, 106-08, 225, 272 

II, 141, 348 
Andrew, Thomas, I, 122 
Andrews, William, II, 288 
Angehca Chapel, II, 257 
Angelica Creek, II, 257 
Angus, Patrick, II, 53 
Animals, I, 6-7, 13, 54, 259 

II, 100, 185, 267-70, 297, 300 
Anne, Princess of England, II, 53 
Annexation, I, 312, 314-15, 479-81, 489- 


II, 5, 23, 48, 195, 216, 218, 259; 
propositions, I, 177-78; 



suits, I, 315 

II, 205-06, 208 

Anniversaries, II, 357 

Anniversary, 350th, Founding of Virgina, 

I 244. 357-58 
Anthony, Edward, I, 249, 253-54 

Antioch Church, II, 257 

Apasus, I, 18, 20, 23, 39, 60, 68 

Appamatuck, I, 32 

Appamatuck Indians, I, 21 

Applew'haite, Henry, II, 261 

Applewhite Methodist Church, II, 257 

Appomattox, I, 20, 201; 

Lee's surrender, I, 208, 479 

II, 100, 107 

Appomattox Indians, II, 344 
Appomattox River, I, 207 

II, 276 
Aquascogoc, II, 310 
Archaeology, I, 39, 45, 62, 67, 70 
Archer, Edward, I, 397, 399-400, 424, 


Edward (II), I, 400; 

Gabriel, I, 20-21, 34, 58-60, 63 

II, 122, 334-36, 340-41; 

John, I, 424; 

Mary, I, 399; 

William, I, 433 

Archer house, I, 433 
Archer's Hope, II, 334 

Architects, I, 265, 439, 460, 462-63, 465 
II, 118, 124, 281 

Architecture, I, 467 
II, 280-81 

Archivo General de Indias, II, 329 

Argall, Samuel, I, 8, 65, 69-70 
II, 339, 342-43, 346-48 

Argall's Gift, I, 82 

Arkell Safety Bag Company, II, 228 

Armament Limitation, Washington Con- 
ference, II, 227 

Armed Guard Center, Camp Shelton, II, 

Va. 2—25 

Armed Guard School, Little Creek, II, 

Armistead, Anthony, I, 1 18-19; 

Beverly, II, 10; 

Robert, I, 135, 150; 

Susannah Hutchings Travis, I, 401; 

Westwood, I, 151-52; 

William, I, 120, 124, 130, 150, 156, 

401, 453 
Armistead Bridge, I, 462 
Armstrong, George D., I, 466; 

Samuel Chapman, I, 185 

Army, Confederate, I, 203-08, 309-12 

II, 98-99, 169-71, 200-01, 261-62, 


Continental, II, 70-78, 149, 160-62, 

260, 289; 

of Northern Virginia, I, 470; 

of Potomac, I, 205-06; 

Union, I, 202-08, 309-12 

II, 169-71, 200-01, 261-62, 294-95; 

United States, I, 173-75, 186-90, 

194-210, 500, 511 

II, 38-45, 103, 118-19, 152,53, 175- 
78, 204, 207-08, 222, 236-41; 

U.S., Eightieth Division, II, 226; 

U.S., Twenty-ninth Division, I, 502 

II, 225-26; 

U.S., 48th Regiment, II, 224; 

U.S., 115th Regiment, II, 225; 

U.S., II 6th Regiment, II, 225; 

U.S., Sub-Port of Embarkation, I, 


of Virginia, I, 469 

Army Base, U.S., Hampton Roads, I, 

U.S., Norfolk, II, 222; 

Army Ground Forces Headquarters, I, 

Army posts. United States, I, 95, 191-210 

posts. United States, I, 95, 191-210 

Arnold, Benedict, I, 158, 305, 400, 423 

II, 4, 77, 107-08, 162, 260, 360; 

map, II, 77-78 



Arrohatoc Indians, I, 21 

Arrohatock, I, :o 

Arroii\ II, 297 

Arson, I, 164-65 

Art, I, 197, 199-200, 202, 453 

II, 120-21, 126, 244 
Arthur, James, II, 271 
Artillery, Confederate, I, 312 

U, 261-62; 

Nansemond County, II, 150; 

Norfolk, I, 454, 469-70; 

Princess Anne County, II, 97; 

Union, II, 261-62; 

United States, I, 194, 306, 500 

II, 6, 223; 

Virginia Eighteenth Battalion, 

Company A, II, 295 

\'irginia First Battalion, Battery B, 

I 479 
Artisans, I, 125-26, 129, 135-36 
Artists, I, 16-19, 54, 197, 199-200, 202, 

220, 453 

II, 126, 244 
Arundel, Henry Frederick, Earl of, I, 


John, I, 106, 112, 229; 

Peter, I, 112; 

Thomas Howard, Earl of, I, 219, 

(illus.) 220 

Asburv, Francis, I, 446 

II, 95, 167 
Ashall, George, I, 270; 

Mary, I, 270 

Ashburner, Charles E., I, 504 
Ashley, William, I, 387 
Aspray, John, II, 160 
Assamoosick Swamp, II, 257 
Assateague, I, 37 

Assembly, Virginia Colonial General, I, 
2' 7'-72. 77-78, 82, 87-88, 91, 95- 
100, 114-19, 122-23, 128-29, 137, 
140, 148, 155, 158, 160-61, 163, 172- 
73, 176, 181, 193-94, 225, 234, 238, 
240, 246, 255-57, 260-61, 282, 286, 

288-89, 308, 325, 328, 333, 341, 354, 
371, 391, 393, 396, 403, 406, 409 
II, 4-5, 78, 123, 136-37, 140, 157, 
167, 194-95, 249, 252, 268, 270, 
348-51, 353-54; 

Speaker, II, 143, 349 

Assembly, Virginia State General, I, 429, 
436, 438-39, 459-60, 468, 510 
II, 8, 17, 78, 98, 214-16, 227, 244, 
290, 294-95, 361 

Association for Preservation of \'irginia 
Antiquities, II, 279 

Atchison, William, I, 376 

Atkins, Moses, II, 260; 

Sarah, II, 260 

Atkinson, James, II, 261; 

Joseph, II, 261 

Atlanta, I, 178 

Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad, 

I 472 
II, 294 

Atlantic City, I, 475, 479 

Atlantic Coast Line, I, 473, 493 

II 32, 154 

Atlantic and Danville Railroad, I, 473, 


II, 32, 154, 264, 295-96 

Atlantic Fleet, II, 27; 

Commander-in-Chief, II, 368; 

Headquarters, Norfolk, I, 214 

II, 367 

Atlantic Hotel (Old), Norfolk, I, 484 

(illus.), 485 
Atlantic Ocean, I, 5, 17, 21 

II, 66 
Atomic Energy Commission, II, 242 
Attorney General, U. S., I, 453 

II, 302 
Attwood, Edward, I, 276, 280 

II, 61; 

Mary Woodhouse, I, 276, 280; 

William, I, 280 

x'\uthors, I, 1-9, 14-15, 17-18, 21, 25-27, 
30, 32, 34, 37-38, 40, 48, 51, 53, 77, 



120-22, 132, 142, 151-52, 200-02, 

453, 469 

II, 85, 90, 99, 278, 318-19, 326, 341 

Automobiles, I, 491 

II, 23, 116 
Avera, Charles, I, 138 
Aviation, I, 210-16; 

schools, II, 223 

Aviles, Pedro Menendez de, I, 51; 

expedition, I, 49-50 

Avon Theatre, I, 462 
Axacaii, I, 50-51 
Aylmer, Justinian, I, 120-21 
Azalea Festival, annual, I, 495 


BARC, II, 119 

Back Bay, II, 54-55, 59, 9I1 'oo 

Back Creek, I, 339-40, 379, 403, 423, 449, 

Back River, I, 87, 106, 122-23, '37' '4°' 

143, 162, 164, 173, 226, 229 
Background, I, 1-73 
Bacon, II, 269, 282 
Bacon, Anne, I, 276; 

Nathaniel, I, 128, 256, 258-59 

II, I, 196, 259; 

Samuel, I, 300; 

• Sir Nicholas, I, 276 

Bacon's Rebellion, I, 1 18-19, 128, 258-59 

II, I, 183, 196, 259 
Bad Axe, I, 200 
Bad Axe River, battle, I, 198 
Bagnall, William C, I, 466 
Bain, George M., I, 477 
Baird and Roper's Shipyard, I, 483 
Baker, James, II, 271; 

Nicholas, I, 120; 

William, II, 157 

Baker Building, Suffolk, II, 172 

Baker's Neck, I, 94 

Balfour, E. O., I, 308 

"Ballad - The Lake of the Dismal 

Swamp," Thomas Moore, II, 184-85 

Ballance, Elkanah, I, 448; 

Mrs. Eugene, II, 98; 

Joseph W., II, 260 

Ballentine Place, II, 97 
Balloonists, I, 203-04, 210 
Balls, II, 1 1 

Baltimore, George Calvert, Lord, II, 142 
Baltimore Steam Packet Company, I, 450, 

Bank of Commerce original home, Nor- 
folk (illus.), I, 472 
Bank of Hampton Roads, II, 246 
Bank of Newport News, II, 214 
Bank of Suffolk, II, 174 
Bank of Virginia, I, 496 

II, 14-15, 36, 246 
Bank of Warwick, II, 206, 246 
Bank robbery, II, 14-15 
Bank Street Baptist Church, Norfolk, I, 

449, 464 
Bankers, I, 464, 474, 75, 495-96 

II, 171, 299 
Banking, I, 464, 473-75, 495-9'5 

II, 154, 171, 299 
Banks, I, 381, 464, 472-75, 495-96 

II, 36, 164, 171-72, 174, 179-80, 

206, 214, 246 
Banks, James, I, 165 
Baptist Church, South Norfolk, II, 49 
Baptist-Methodist antagonism, II, 72 
Baptists, I, 160, 248, 296, 298-99, 447-49, 

463-64, 466, 476, 498 

II, 13, 94-95, 115, 150, 166-67, 197, 

246-47, 258, 288 
Barbour, James, I, 166 

n, 83 

Barco, A. L., II, 129; 

Bailey, T., II, 91, 126 

Barlow, Henry, II, 87 

Barlowe, Arthur, I, 5-6, 14-15, 17-19, 34, 

37> 49, 52-53, 233 

II, 307-09, 331 
Barnes, Anthony, II, 57; 

Elizabeth, II, 57-58; 



Barnes, James, I, 198 
Barnett, C. M., II, 89 
Barr, David, II, 279 
Barraud, Otway B., I, 464 
Barrett, Fannie, II, 290; 

Frederick M. (II), II, 282; 

Marv Alurfee, II, 293; 

R. Crawford, II, 293; 

Richard, II, 293; 

Robert F., II, 282 

Barrier reef, II, 121 
Barrington, Samuel, II, 197 
Barron, James, I, 157, 193 

II' 359; 

James, Jr., I, 158 

II. 359; 

James M., II, 83; 

Jane, I, 158; 

Samuel, I, 154, 157-58, 193; 

Samuel, Jr., I, 157-58 

Barron-Decatur duel, I, 158 
Barrv, James E., I, 474 

Barton, Henry Causey, Jr., II, 91 

Baseball, II, 36 

Bass, I, 9 

Basse, Nathaniel, I, 85, 88-89, 97"98. 100 

II, 250 
Basse's Choice, I, 85, 121 

II, 249-50 
Bassett, Burr, Jr., II, 199 
Bassnett's Creek, II, 57 
Batchelor's Mill, I, 301 
Bath Parish, I, 389, 394 
Battery Park, I, 335 

II, 260, 264 
Battleship modernization program, II, 25- 

Battleships, II, 21, 25, 175, 217 
Battses Bay, II, 54 
Baxter, I. N., II, 99 
Bay Church, II, 256, 282 
Bay Shore, II, 83 
Bav Shore Line, I, 491 
Baylake Pines, II, 60 

Bayley, John, I, 138; 

Judith, I, 138, 152; 

Walter, I, 115, 124-126 

Bayliss, Walter, I, 132 
Bayside, II, 61 

Bay ton, Beverly, II, 10 
Bayville Farms, II, 85 
Beaches, I, 5, 312-14 

II, 369 
Beale, Carl, II, 298 
Bear, I, 6, 54 

II, 185 
Becket, Walter, II, 118 
Beauregard, Pierre Gustave, I, 207 
Beaver Dams, I, 70 
Behan, Ann Plume, I, 467; 

James H., I, 467 

Belfield, II, 295 
Belgians, I, 481 

Ben Franklin, S. S., I, 465-66 

Benjamin F. Poole, II, 129-31 

Bennett, Edward, I, 227 

II, 141; 

Philip, II, 138; 

Richard, I, 88-89, 98, --7-29 

II, 137-38, 141, 168; 

Thomas, II, 140; 

William, I, 96 

Bennett's, Edward, Plantation, I, 85, 89, 

Bennett's Creek, I, 228 

II, 138, 149 
Bennett's Creek Church, II, 139 (illus.), 

140, 147-49, 168 
Bennett's Pasture, II, 138 
Bennett's Wharf, II, 199 
Benn's Church Post Office, II, 277 
Berkeley, Sir William, I, u8, 193, 258 

II, I, 93, 140, 196, 259 
Berkeley Hundred, I, 69 
Berkley, I, 296, 304, 308, 315. 489, 494- 


II, 5, II, 48, 50, 172 



Berkley, Lycurgus, I, 308 Blackbeard's Point, I, 114, 153 
Berlin, II, 257, 295, 302 II, 197 

Bermuda City, II, 344 Black-eyed peas, I, 8 

Bermuda Hundred, I, 67, 69-70, 79-80, Blacksmiths, I, 125, 131 

207 Blackwater, II, 85 

II, 344 Blackwater Baptist Church, II, 94 

Bermuda Street, Norfolk, I, 357, 375, 434 Blackwater Bridge, II, 255, 292 

Bermudas, II, 343, 347, 353 Blackwater Pallet Company, II, 300 

Bernard, Simon, I, 194 Blackwater River, I, 17 
Besse, S. B., II, 233 II, 94, 148, 151, 170, 255, 257, 285- 

Best, Thomas, I, 125, 131 86, 290-92, 296-97 

Best Foods, Inc., Skippy Peanut Butter Blair, James, I, 348-49, 372, 375 

Division, II, 30 
Beverley, Peter, I, 132; 

Robert, I, 4, 7-9, 21, 25-27, 30, 32, 

40, 51, 53-54, 154, 328-29, 362; 

• William, I, 154, 328 

Beverly, I, 437 
Bible, I, 151-52 

II, 280 
Bibliography, II, 373-80 
Bickford, Robert G., II, 226 
Bideford Bay, II, 323 
Bidgood, Richard, II, 261 
Big Bethel, I, 173; 
battle, I, 159, 174-75, 203 

II, 200 
Biggs, Kader, I, 477 
Bill of Rights, State, I, 441 

II, 149 
Billy, I, 164-65 

Biography of Jeffersoiz Davis, A4rs. Jeff- 
erson Davis, I, 202 
Birds, I, 6-7 

Birdsong, Harvard R., II, 132, 299 
Birdsong Storage Company, II, 299 
Black Creek Meeting, II, 258 
Black Hawk, Chief, I, 198-200; 

autobiography, I, 200 

Black Hawk%Var, I, 198 
Black Mill, II, 126 
Blackbeard, I, 153 

II, 123, 196-97 
Blackbeard's Hill, II, 123 

II, 267-68; 

John, I, 372, 440 

Blake, William, II, 257 
Blanckevile, Charles, I, 118-19 
Bland, William, I, 161, 442-45 
Bland-Whitehead controversy, I, 442-43 
Blanks, James B., I, 475 

Blanton, W. B., I, 361 
"Bloodfield," II, 218 
Blossom Hill, II, 60 
Blount, Harry, II, 287 
Blue Ridge Mountains, II, 63 
Blunt, Humfrey, I, 67 
Blunt Point, I, 67 

II, 196 
Boardwalk, Virginia Beach, II, 116, 130 
Boardwalk Art Show, Virginia Beach, II, 

Boat Harbor, I, 86, 91, 102 
Boat repairing, I, 183 
Boating, I, 184 

II, 301 
Boddie, John Bennett, II, 278 
Bolton, Francis, I, 93 
Bonaparte, Louis Napoleon, I, 194, 453 

II, 82 
Bonney, John, II, 65, 90; 

Wilson, M., II, 96-97 

Books, I, I, 3, 120, 151-52, 200-02 

II, 318-19, 326 
Booth, Randolph, II, 274 



Borough Church, Norfolk, I, 291, 296, 
378, 385-90, 393, 399, 415, 417, 419, 
422, 442, 450 

Borough Church plan (illus.), I, 387 

Boroughs, I, 70-72, 77-78, 254 
II, 348 

Bosel, William, I, 138 

B0St072, U.S.S., II, 368 

Botanical Garden, Peartree Hall, War- 
wick, II, 197 

Boundary Commissioners, Virginia, II, 
91, 144 

Boush, Alice Mason, I, 268, 356, 404; 

Ann Sweny, I, 406; 

Anne, I, 357, 404; 

Arthur, I, 356, 405-06; 

Catharine, I, 405; 

Charles Sayer, I, 356, 386, 405-06, 

Elizabeth, I, 379, 401, 405, 424 

II, 107; 

Elizabeth Wilson, II, 107; 

Frances Sayer, I, 356, 405; 

Frederick, II, 71, 80, 107; 

Goodrich, I, 356, 405-06, 424; 

James, I, 406; 

John, I, 357, 397, 404-05, 432-33; 

A4argaret (Peggy), I, 356, 399; 

Aiartha Sweny, I, 386, 406; 

A4ary (Molly), I, 356; 

Mary Tabb, I, 406; 

Mary Wilson, I, 406; 

Maximilian, I, 271, 276, 345, 356 

II, 58, 87-88; 

Maximilian (II), I, 276, 379 

II, 107; 

Nathaniel, I, 356, 405-06; 

Robert, I, 405, 424, 433-34; 

Samuel, I, 268, 271, 276, 288, 319, 

337. 340, 344' 35O' 352, 354' 356' 
360, 364, 372-74, 379, 384, 404-07, 
411-12, 433 
II, 107, 358; 

Samuel, plan, I, 385, 404-05, 407; 

Samuel (II), I, 293, 337, 343-44, 

350, 352, 356-57, 373-74, 376, 384- 
86, 389, 398-99, 404-06, 408, 424; 

Samuel (III), I, 293, 356, 386, 398- 

99, 404-06, 424; 

Samuel (IV), I, 405-06; 

Samuel (V), I, 406; 

Sarah Woodhouse, I, 276, 356; 

William, I, 405-06 

II, 106-07; 

William (II), II, 107; 

Wilson, I, 406, 424 

Boush (or Tazewell) house, I, 432-33 
Boush tract, I, 352-54, 379, 403-07, 427 
Boush's, Samuel, lots, I, 352, (illus.) 353, 

Boush's Creek, I, 379 

II, 358, 362 
Bowden, R. W., I, 454 
Bowden's Ferry Road, I, 260 
Bower's Hill, I, 301 

II, 136, 187 
Bownas, Samuel, I, 145 
Boy Scouts of America, I, 184 
Boykin, Francis, II, 253, 260, 273 
Boykins, II, 286, 290-91, 301 
Braddock, Edward, I, 154 

II, .97 
Braithwait, Henry, II, 117 
Bramble, George, I, 479 
Bramble's Point, I, 465 
Brambleton, I, 475, 479, 489 

II, 116 
Branchville, II, 286, 301 
Brantham Road, II, 358 
Bratton, Margaret J., II, 60 
Brave, II, 323 
Bravo, II, 297 
Braxton, George, I, 427 
Bray, Jerry G., Jr., II, 49 

Plummer (Plomer), I, 276, 329 

II, 57 
Brav'shaw, William, II, 282 



Breezy Point, I, 225 

II, 358 
Bressie, William, II, 254-55 
Brewer, John, I, 83, 99, loi; 

R. L., II, 171 

Brewer's Creek, II, 258 
Briarfield Farm, II, 202 
Brickhouse, Nathaniel, II, 97 
Brickyards, II, 102 
Bridger, Joseph, I, 96, 239 

II, 259, 271, 277-78 
Bridges, I, 173, 203, 261, 272, 292, 310, 

336,449, 462, 471, 494, 503 

II, 5, 36,47, 50, 81, 91, 229, 252-53, 

255' 257. 262, 264, 272-73, 292, 358, 

Brief e and True Report, Thomas Hariot, 

II, 319 
Briggs, Archibald, I, 464 
Brinson, John, I, 280; 
— — Matthew, I, 280; 
• Thomas, I, 280 

II, 60 
Brinson's Inlet, I, 280 
Brinson's Pond, II, 54 
Bristol, I, 472-73 
"Bristol ships," II, 250 
British Goodwill Mission, II, 283 
Brittle, Thomas, II, 161 
Broad Bay, II, 54, 67, 108, 123 
Broad Bay Manor, I, 224 

II, 109 
Broad Creek, I, 241-42, 246, 261, 275, 285, 

301, 310, 491 

II, 53,64,69,97, 113 
Brock, Irving, II, 90; 

Mrs. Henry, II, loi 

Brook Hill, II, 213 
Brooke, John M., II, 19 
Brooks, Lyman H., I, 510; 

Swepson, II, 91 

Brough, Robert, I, 120, 440 
Broughton, Thomas G., I, 451-52; 

William H., I, 476 

Brown, Benjamin, I, 161; 

Nicholas, I, 120; 

Rachel C. Garrett, I, 161; 

William A., II, 92, 280 

Brown's Bay, I, 223 
Brunswick County, I, 426. 

II, 100, 255, 274 
Bryan, John Stewart, II, 213; 

William J., II, 178 

Bryant, James D., II, 290 
Buchan, Robert, I, 394-95 
Buchanan, James, II, 302 
Buck, Richard, I, 66-67, "^9 

II, 348 
Buckroe (Buck Roe), I, 105-06, 114, 120, 

Buckroe Beach, I, 87, 105, (illus.) 182-83 
Builders, I, 462-63 
Building boom, II, 208 
Building and Loan associations, I, 496. 

II, 180 
Bull Run, battle, I, 204 
Bullock, Thomas, I, 244, 251, 280 
Bunkley, Tristram, II, 261 
Burbage, Thomas, I, u8 
Burdette, II, 302 

Burges, Henry John, II, 258, 288 
Burgess, George Wright, I, 300; 

Robert, I, 299 

Burgesses, House of, I, 77, 86, 92-93, 96- 
100, 106, 111-12, 140, 145, 193, 225- 
28, 249, 254, 255-56, 259, 262, 267- 
68, 270, 279-81, 294, 309, 329, 332, 
356, 371-72, 376, 380 
II, I, 4, 138-39, 143, 157, 167, 276, 
285, 287, 348-49, 354; 

Chaplain, I, 249; 

Journal, I, 291; 

Speaker, II, 141 

Burial grounds, I, 269, 299, 317, 321, 450 
Burnett, John, II, 137 
Burras, Anne, I, 108; 

John, I, 108 



Burroughs, Christopher, I, 244, 251, 281 

II, 87 
Burwell, Robert, II, 186-87, 271 
Burvvell's Bay, II, 251, 262, 282 
Burwell's Ferry, II, 198 
Bus lines, I, 491, 494 

II, 32, 242; 

systems, I, 494 

Buses, I, 182, 491, 494 

II, 116 
Bushell, John, I, 139 
Business, small, I, 125, 129, 135-36, 362- 

63, 401, 484-85, 496-98 

II, 116, 274-75, 291 
Bustin, Thomas, II, 3 
Bute Street, Norfolk, I, 405, 409 
Bute Street Baptist Church, I, 463-64, 

Butler, Benjamin F., I, 174, 185, 203-04, 

206-08, 471 

II, 20, 99-100, 200; 

Hugh L., I, 504; 

Nathaniel, II, 352 

Cornelius (II), I, 402 

II, 106; 

Cornelius (III), I, 402; 

Dinah Wishard, II, 106; 

Elizabeth Thorowgood, I, 402; 

Helen, II, 72; 

John, I, 425, 436 

II, 359; 

Jonathan, I, 425; 

Joseph, I, 402; 

Leonard, I, 117; 

Mary, II, 76; 

Mary Saunders, I, 402; 

Maximilian, I, 387, 402, 41 1 

II, ii; 

Maximilian (II), I, 402; 

Sampson, I, 248, 253; 

Saunders, I, 402; 

Thomas, I, 402 

Camden Heights, I, 286 
Camm, Robert, I, 236 
Camm's, Robert, Point, I, 261 
Camouflage, I, 210-12 

Biitlefs Book, Benjamin F. Butler, II, 99- Camp, George W., I, 465; 

Butler's gunboat fleet, I, 206 
Butt, Marshall, I, 222; 

Thomas, I, 360 

Byrd, Anne, II, 57; 

John, n, 57; 

William, I, 139, 292, 308, 348, 363, 


II, 144, 181-82, 185, 267; 

William, (II), L 367; 

Byrd, William (II), Commission, I, 364- 


Cabot, John, expedition, I, 45-46 

II, 305, 307 
Caesar, I, 164-65 
Callender, Eleazer, II, 359 
Callis, William, I, 462-63 
Calvert, Cornelius, I, 402, 411, 454 

II, 72; 

James L., II, 299; 

Paul, II, 299; 

Robert J., II, 299; 

William S., I, 464 

Camp Alexander, II, 203, 223; 

Bradford, II, 103; 

Butler, I, 203, 206 

II, 200; 

Eustis, II, 203-04, 206, 223; 

Hamilton, I, 202-03, ^o'^j 

Hill, II, 203, 206, 223; 

McClellan, II, 223; 

Morrison, II, 203, 223; 

Patrick Henry, II, 206, 236, 242-44; 

Pendleton, II, 119, 126; 

Shelton, II, 103; 

Stuart, II, 203, 223, 226, 228 

Talbot, I, 469 

Camp Manufacturing Company, II, 293, 




Camp meetings, II, 95 
Campanius, Johannes, I, 34, 37-38 
Campbell, Alexander, I, 373-75, 394; 

Archibald, I, 375, 380, 387, 392, 

394' 4'i; 
Donald, I, 394; 

Hugh, II, 91-92, 256; 

John A., I, 208; 

■ John C, II, 234 

Campostella, I, 315, 489 

Canals, I, 207, 286, 308, 320, 450, 465, 


II, 7, 81, 147, 163, 182, 187-88 

Canberra, U.S.S., II, 368 

Cango, Gonzalo iVlendes de, II, 329 

Candy, II, 174, 178 

Cannibalism, II, 341 

Cannon, Edward, II, 71; 

Elizabeth Cornick, I, 277; 

■ Thomas, I, 277 

Canterbury, I, 272 

II, 358 
Cape Canaveral, Florida, I, 48 
Cape Charles, I, 51, 62, 69, 212, 473, 493- 


Cape Charles Light, II, 126 

Cape Comfort, I, 62-63, 65-66, 68, 191 

Cape Fear, I, 13, 18, 46, 52, 57 

II, 126-28 
Cape Fear River, I, 47, 219 

II, 236 
Cape Hatteras, I, 19, 38 

II, 121, 126-29, 316, 327 
Cape Henry, I, 3, 8, 14, 24, 39, 51, 53-54, 

57, 60, 62-63, 130, 191, 233, 274, 

312, 318 

II, 61, 77, 83, 113, 115-23, 126-29, 

'31-3^, 334. 357i 360, 368; 

first landing, 26 April, 1607 (illus.), 

I, 6i 

Cape Henry Channel, I, 233 
Cape Henry Desert, II, 54 
Cape Henry Light, II, 120, 126 

Cape Henry Lighthouse, II, 67, (illus.) 
82, 98, 120, 123-26, 128; 

keeper, II, 125 

Cape Lookout, I, 14, 18, 48, 54 

n, 126 

Cape Remain, South Carolina, I, 48 
Cape Saint Helena, South Carolina, I, 2 
Cape Trafalgar, I, 48 
Capital, Colonial, I, 78, 256, 288 
II, 78; 

State, II, 78 

Capital Airlines, I, 494 

II, 32, 244 
Cape-Merchant, II, 268 
Capitol, Colonial, I, 345 

II, 289; 

State, n, 281 

Capps, Richard, II, 57; 

William I, 97, 104, 108, 229 

Capron, II, 257, 286, 301 
Carolina, I, 219, 310 

Carolina Banks, II, 307, 318 

Carprew, Joshua, I, 299 

Carr, George, II, 23 

Carrsville, II, 302 

Carter, John, II, 138 

Cartrite, Alice, witchcraft case, II, 56, 106 

Cartwright, Peter, I, 343-44 

Carver, Richard, II, i; 

William, I, 249, 259, 281 

n, 1-2 

Cary, Henry, L 141, 148; 

John B., I, 172-74; 

John B., library, I, 174-75; 

Miles, II, 195; 

Miles (II), II, 195-96; 

Richard, II, 197; 

Wilson A4iles, I, 147, 151, 160 

Caiy's Bridge, II, 257 

Cascade Park, South Norfolk, II, 51 
Casino, Virginia Beach, II, 116 
Cattle, I, 259 

II, 185, 265, 297, 300 
Cavalier Beach Club, II, 119 



Cavalier Hotel, II, 115, 119 

Cavalier Yacht and Countrv Club, Vw- 

ginia Beach (illus.), II, 130 
Cavalrv, Elizabeth City iMilitia, I, 1 30; 

Fifteenth \'irginia, II, 107; 

Nansemond County, II, 150; 

Norfolk, I, 453; 

Princess Anne Countv, II. 97; 

Southampton, II, 294-95; 

Third \'irginia, I, 175; 

Thirteenth Mrginia, II, 150; 

Thirteenth \'irginia. Company A, 

II, 294-95; 

United States, II, 262 

Cavendish, Thomas, II, 309 
Cedar Grove Cemetery, I, 450 

II, .3 
Cedar Hill, II, 158 
Ceelev, Thomas, I, 1 18-19 
Celery, II, 186 

Centenary Ball, Portsmouth, II, 1 1 
Centipede, I, 307 
Central Pacific Railroad, II, 2 1 1 
Chalice, Robert Tucker, I, 347, 358; 

Samuel Boush, I, 340, 342. 384-85 

Chamberlaine, George, I, 386, 393; 

R. H., I, 474; 

W. W., I, 474 

Chamberlayne, Elizabeth Calvert Tavlor, 


George, I, 425; 

George (II), I, 425 

Chamberlin Hotel, Hampton, I, 183 
Chambers Field, II, 358 
Champion, Percival, II, 139 
Chandler, John, I, 119, 281; 

Lucius J., II, 100 

Chapel by the Sea, II, 91, 126 
Chapel Street, Norfolk, I, 467 
Chapels of Ease, I, 242-43, 245, 248-52, 

291-92, 296, 319, 328 

II, 47, 85, 89-92, 140, 149-50, 165, 

168, 193, 256-57, 359 

Chapman, Benjamin P., Memorial Li- 
brary, II, 282 
Chapman, Henry, II, 58, 65 
Charity Methodist Church, II, 95 
Charles, Prince of England, I, 79 
Charles I, King of England, I, 1 1-, 220 

II. 353;54 
Charles II, King of England, I, 328 
Charles City, I, 80, 87, 118, 225, 334 
Charles City Corporation, I, 78-79, 87 

II, 348 
Charles City County, I, 40, 71, 254 
Charles Fort, I, 67 
Charles River, I, 79 
Charlottesville, II, 34 
Charlton, Hjalmar, II, 129-31; 

Matilda, II, 130-31 

Chase, Salmon P., II, 19 
Chawanook, I, 14-15, 17, 19, 37, 55 

II, 3:8 
Chawanook Indians, I, 19, 21, 24, 38 

II, 135 
Cheesman, John, I, 105-06, 222, 234, 245 
Chesapeake, I, 158 

II, 5, 359 

Chesapeake, I, 20, 37; 

Chesapeake Bay, I, 1-5, 9, 13, 16-17, '9, 
21, 46-49, 51, 54-55, 57-58, 60, 62, 
64-65, 130-31, 183-84, 191, 194, 197, 
205, 225-26. 233-34, 246, 258, 305- 

07, 3'3 

II, 54, 83, 103, 118, 121-24, '48, 

160, 198, 211, 221, 305-28 passim, 

331-55 passim 
Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads 

(1841) map (illus.), I, 52 
Chesapeake Beach, I, 18, 68, 266 
Chesapeake-Camp Corporation, II, 299 
Chesapeake Dr\- Dock and Construction 

Company, II, 201 
Chesapeake Female College, I, 202 
Chesapeake (Chesepiuc) Indians, I, 19- 

21, 23-24, 39, 54-56, 60, 63-64, 233 

II, 135, 311 et seq. 



Chesapeake-Leopard encounter, II, 5, 83, 

Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, I, 175, 

473' 493 

II, 32, 194, 20I, 211-12, 214, 216, 


■ coal pier, II, 235 (illus.), 241, 244 

■ grain elevator, II, 234; 

Hampton Branch Line, II, 218; 

piers, II, 220, 228, 235, 241, 244; 

terminal, II, 220; 

waterfront facilities (illus.), II, 242 

Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone 

Company, I, 498 
II, .79 ' 
Chesapeake River, I, 3-4, 37-38, 63, 233 

II, 305-34. 337i 343 
Chesapeake Transit Company, II, 1 13-15 
Chesepiooc, I, 18, 24, 54-55, 60, 63 

II, 69, 76, 91 
Chesepiooc Shuis, I, 3, 17-18 
Chesipeans, I, 17-18, 54 
Chesterfield, I, 80 

II, 34 
Chesterfield County, I, 297 
Chesterfield Heights, I, 491 
Chevers, Mark, I, 171 
Chichester, Mary Thelaball, I, 269, 316 

II, 105-06; 

William, I, 269, 316 

II, 105 

Chickahominy, I, 51 

Chickahominy Indians, I, 21, 23, 31-32, 


II, 336 
Chickahominy River, I, 71, 80, 179 

Chincoteague Island, I, 13, 37, 46 
Chincoteague ponies, II, 121 
Chisholm, William, I, 427 
Cholera, Asiatic, II, 14 
Choral societies, I, 184 
Chowan, I, 17 

Chowan River, I, 3, 15, 39, 53, 55, 57 
II, 99, 135, 148, 292, 296, 312, 329 

Chowanoac, II, 312 

Christ Church, Norfolk, I, 443-44, 471, 
476, 500 
II, 91, 279; 

fire, 1,431-42,444; 

ministers, I, 444 

Christ and St. Luke's Church, Norfolk, I, 

Christian Church, II, 150, 167-68, 256-57 
Christian Stin, Suffolk, II, 164 
Christopher Newport Park, II, 244 
Chuckatuck, I, 23 

II, 146, 149, 154, 162; 

skirmish, II, 152, 170-71 

Chuckatuck Parish, I, 341 

II, 140, 143, 149; 

ministers, II, 140-41 

Church, Richard, I, 281 
Church Creek, I, 70, 94, 247-49 
Church of England, I, 67, 69-71, 77, 89- 

96, 171, 186, 441-42 

II, 9, 84-86, 89, 139-42, 145, 164- 

69, 194, 197, 251-52, 258, 276-80; 

close relationship with government, 

II, 84, 255, 288; 

decline, II, 168; 

difficult position, I, 441-442 

II, 149-50; 

parishes, I, 77-78, 89-100, 106, 120- 

23, 140-42, 146-47, 160-62, 172, 229- 
30, 234, 242-54, 290-98, 338-41, 347- 

49, 355' 378-79' 383-9I' 394' 39<5, 


II, 9-10, 13, 47, 50, 53, 57, 85-92, 

108, 139-42, 165, 193-94, 254-58, 

Church galleries, private, I, 387-88; 
Church Point, I, 251, 259, 262 

H, 55, 85-86 
Churches, I, 50, 67, 69-71, 89-96, 120-21, 

123, 140-47, 160-62, 171, 184, 186, 

201, 242-53, 290-99, 328, 338-41, 



Churches, 347-49, 383-91, 441-49, 462-64, 
466-68, i\j6-j'j, 498-500 
II, 12-13, 49-50, 55, 84-96, 115, 139- 
44, 149-50, 164-69, 193, 202-03, 246- 

47< 25>-5^ 254-59.-76, 288 
Churchland Baptist Church, I, 298 
Cincinnati, Society of, I, 305, 425-26 
Cipo River, I, 15 
Cities, I, I, 181, 459-515 
II, 157-80; 

• encouragement of, II, 195; 

requirements for creation, I, 181-82 

Citizens, prominent, I, 69-70, 96, 111-12, 
118, 157-60, 172, 225-26, 236, 239, 
262-81, 312-13, 315-21, 355-64, 367, 
396-403, 424-27, 452-53, 466, 474, 

II, 48, 61-64, 105-09, 138, 253, 281- 
82, 286-87, 302-03, 358-59 
Citizens Bank, Norfolk, I, 474 
Citizens Marine Jefferson Bank, II, 246 
Citizens' Rapid Transit Company, II, 242 
Citizens Trust Company, Portsmouth, II, 

City Manager, Norfolk, I, 504 
City National Bank, Norfolk, I, 474-75 
City Point, I, 206-07 
Civic pride, II, 51 
Civilian Defense, I, 5 1 1 
Claiborne, Leonard, Jr., II, 287; 

William, I, 113-14, 117-19, 128 

II, 142, 151, 170 

Clams, I, 184 

Claremont, II, 295 

Clarke, Bartholomew, I, 336, 363; 

John, I, 68-69; 

John I., II, 262 

Clark's Creek, I, 223 

Clarksburg' Methodist Church, II, 290 
Clay, Henry, I, 453-54 

n, 9 

Clerk, Elizabeth Citv^, I, 114, 122-23, 127; 

Norfolk City, I, 374, 376 

II. 53, 64, 145, 152, 157, 174, 273-74, 

Court, I, 235, 237-38, 279, 320, 359- 


II, 108, 199, 259 
Clifton, Jack, I, 202 
Climate, I, 13, 54, 233 

II, 186, 286, 305, 311 
Clinton, Sir Henry, II, 149, 161 
Clinton map of 1781, I, 270-71, (illus.) 

272, (illus.) 274, 278, (illus.) 303 
Cloak-and-dagger episode, II, 80-81 
Clover Dale, I, 159 
Clyde Line, II, 293, 297 
Coal, II, 212, 221-22; 

carriers, I, 473, 491-93; 

frozen, II, 222; 

pier, Newport News, II, 212; 

port, world's greatest, I, 493 

II, 34 
Coast Artillery School, I, 208 

n, 118 
Coast and Geodetic Survey maps, U.S., 

L 286 
Coast Guard, U.S., II, 128; 

Base, II, 34-35; 

• District, Fifth, II, 126, 368 

Cobb, Sanford H., II, 85 
Cocke, Abraham, II, 324-25; 

Christopher, II, 53, 57, 105; 

James, I, 319; 

Mary Mason, II, 105 

Cockfighting, II, 10-11 

Cold Harbor battle, I, 207, 312, 477 

n, 98 

College Creek, I, 50 

Colleges and universities, I, 151, 159-60, 

185-86, 297, 350, 381, 388, 402, 405- 

06, 477, 506-10 
Colley .Monument, I, 466 
Collier, Charles M., I, 167; 

Sir George, I, 305 


Clerks, County, I, 268, 271, 331, 355 Collins, WilHam, II, 31 



Collinson, Richard, I, 394-95 
Colonial Churches of Virginia, Irving 

Brock, II, 90 
Colonial House, Incorporated, I, 433 
Colonna, Charles J., II, 117 
Colonna's Shipyard, Inc., Norfolk 

(illus.), I, 511 
Colony Inn, II, 206 
Columbian Peanut Company, II, 299 
Columbus, Christopher, I, 39, 45-46 

II, 305 
Commercial Bank, Suffolk, II, 172 
Commercial centers, I, 129, 137, 140 
Commercial establishments, Norfolk, I, 

484-85, 496-98; 

Newport News, II, 228-29; 

Smithfield, II, 274-76; 

Southampton County, II, 298-300 

Commercial Place, Norfolk, I, 418, 422, 

428, (illus.) 482 
Commissioners, I, 1 1 1-13, 1 19, 132, 235 
Committee of Correspondence, Elizabeth 

City County, I, 156 
Committee of Safety, Elizabeth City 

County, I, 156; 

Isle of Wight County, II, 260; 

Nansemond County, II, 148, 159- 

60, 166; 

Princess Anne County, II, 70, 76; 

Southampton County, II, 289; 

■ Virginia, II, 70, 76, 260 

Commodore Maury Hotel, Norfolk, II, 


Commonwealth Natural Gas Corpora- 
tion, II, 179 

Communications, I, 259-62, 287-88, 496- 
II, 21, 174, 179, 229 

Communion silver, Elizabeth River Parish, 
(illus.) 348, 389 

Lynnhaven Parish, II, 88; 

Norfolk Parish Church, I, 347 

Comokee, I, 18 

Concerts, I, 184 

n, 233 

Confederate flag, first, I, 468 
Confederate Monument, I, 330, 336 

II, 84 
Confederate States of America, I, 201, 

203-08, 309-12, 469-72 

II, 19, 231, 295; 
capital, I, 201; 

president, I, 200-01, 206 

11, 201; 

vice-president, I, 209 

Confederates, I, 173-75, '9^' 203-08, 309- 

12, 468-72 

II, 12, 17-20, 89, 98, 107, 125, 150- 
52, 200-01, 261-62, 277, 360 
Congregational Church, South Norfolk, 

", 49 
Congregationalists, I, 477 
Congress, U.S., I, 215, 500 

II, 83, 100, 103, 124-25, 362 
Congressional District, Second, II, 100 
Congressmen, U.S., from Virginia, II, 

199, 302-03 
Conner, Abigail Craford, I, 318; 

Elizabeth, I, 318; 

Kader, I, 318; 

Lewis, I, 318, 337, 344, 363, 367 

II. 359; 

Lewis (II), L 299, 318; 

Lewis (III), I, 318; 

Alargaret, I, 318; 

A4ary, I, 318 

Conover, Sanford, I, 201 
Conoy Indians, I, 24 
Conquest, Mary Sibsey, I, 279; 

Richard, I, 279 

Conservation, wartime, I, 5 1 1 
Conservation Commission, Virginia, II, 


Conservation and Development Depart- 
ment, State, II, 221 

Conservatives, I, 471 
II, 138 

Consolvo, Charles H., I, 496 



Constance's warehouse, II, 147, 157-58 
Cotistt'llntion, I, 306 

II, 6, 84 
Constitution, Federal, I, 157; 
• ratification, I, 160 

II, 149 
Constitution, State, I, 177, 178, 181-82, 


II, 49, 149, 195 
Continental Army Command, United 

States (CONARC), I, 208-10, 214 
Continental Association, II, 260 
Continental Congress, I, 155 
Contraband, I, 174, 185, 203-04 
Convention, U.S. Constitution ratifica- 
tion, II, 149 
Convention of 1776, Virginia, I, 412, 

420, 424 

II, 149 
Cook, John, I, 387; 

William, I, 332-33 

Cooke, Willoughby T., School, Virginia 

Beach, II, 15 
Cool Spring, II, 99 
Cooper. Ann, I, 167; 

Charles, I, 409; 

Christopher, II, 321; 

Edward, I, 241-42 

II, 93; 

John, I, 167; 

William, I, 167 

Copeland, John, II, 143; 

John R., II, 171; 

Joseph, II, 143 

Copeland Park, II, 206, 234 
Copland, William, I, 136 
Cormick, Simon, I, 329 

Corn. II, 82, 100, 135, 154, 186, 260, 264, 

269, 271, 300, 312, 326, 336, 339 
Cornick, Barbara, I, 277; 

Elizabeth, I, 277; 

Elizabeth Martin, I, 277-78; 

Elizabeth Woodhouse, I, 276-77; 

Endvmion, II, 108; 

J. H., II, 97; 

Jane, I, 276; 

Joel, I, 276-77 

II, 108; 

Joel,Jr., II, 71; 

John, II, 58, loi; 

Lemuel, II, 108; 

• Louis Carter, II, 108; 

Martha, I, 276; 

Nimrod, II, 108; 

Simon, I, 276; 

Thomas, I, 276; 

William, I, 276-78 

II, 6:, 108 

Cornwallis, Charles, I, 305 

II, 4, 149, 162, 198, 283 
Corporation Commission, State, I, 177 
Corporations, I, 70-72, 77-110, 176-77, 

254, 436 
II, 348; 

bounds, I, 78-79; 

Commanders, I, 86-87, 9', -60, 263; 

• organization, I, 78 

Cosmopolitan Club, Norfolk, I, 514 
Cotton, II, 154, 300; 

port, Norfolk, I, 472, 500 

Council, Common, Newport News, II, 

214, 216-17, "7, 238; 

Common, Norfolk Borough, I, 373, 

379, 384, 399, 403, 437, 451; 

Common, Norfolk State, I, 460, 


Norfolk Cirv, I, 504 

II, loi; 

Portsmouth, II, 13, 23, 35; 

. Select, Norfolk State, I, 460; 

Suffolk, II, 164 

Council of State, \'irginia Colonial, I, 66, 
86, 91, 96-99, III, ii:?, 118, 127, 
132, 140, 153, 236, 256, 262, 329 
II, 67, 136 143, 196, 277, 286, 289, 

president, I, 60, 66; 

quorum, I, 88, 1 1 1, 226, 242 



Counties, I, 1-4, 72, 81, 254 

II, 100 
County Commanders, I, 235-36; 

Lieutenants, I, 235, 238-39, 299, 

313, 315-16, 318 

Couper, William, I, 314, 468 
Court cryer, I, 349-50 
Court of Pie-Poudre, I, 373 
Court of Record, I, 181, 436 
Courtland, II, 257, 286-87, -9°' 293-95, 

Courtland Alliance Peanut Cleaning and 

Storage Company, II, 299 
Court-martials, I, 158 
Courtney Terrace, Virginia Beach, II, 117 
Courts, I, 78, 86-89, '"-'4' '19' '24"-7t 

141-43, 177, 234-41, 257, 262, 286- 

89^ 3'4' 325. 373-74' 397^ 43<5, 439^ 
459-60, 504 

II, 49, 56-62, 70, 145-46, 149, 152, 
162, 252, 286-87, 289-90 
Coverley, Ann, I, 346, 363; 

Martha, I, 363; 

Samuel, I, 363 

Cowper, John, II, 359; 

William, II, 148-49, 166 

Cowper, Willis, and Company, II, 359 
Crab Creek, II, 2 

Crabs, I, 9, 184 

Craford, Abigail, I, 318-19; 

Margaret, I, 319; 

William, I, 281, 293, 295, 299, 318- 

19, 344, 360, 364, 372 

II, 2, ,3; 

William (II), I, 319 

Craford's Bay, II, 2 

Craney Island, I, 165, 228, 234, 241, 243, 
II, .63; 

battle, I, 306-07 

II, 6, 360; 

Naval Fuel Depot, II, 34 

Craney Point, I, 228 

Crater, The, battle, I, 312, 477 

II, 98, 294 
Craven, John J., I, 201-02 
Crawford, Clair, I, 3 1 3 
Crawford House, Portsmouth (illus.), 


Crawshaw, Rawleigh, I, 97, 105, 107; 

William, I, 1 1 1 

Creech, Jerome, I, 300 
Crenshaw, James G., I, 183 
Crew, Randall, II, 138 
Cricket Hill, battle, II, 198 
Crime, I, 131-32, 152-53, 505 

II, 61-62 
Crimping, II, 217-18 
Crittenden, II, 154 
Croatoan Indians, II, 320-21, 326-27 
Croatoan Island, II, 313, 316, 320, 324-26 
Crooke, Robert, I, 127; 

William, I, 126-27 

Crop diversification, I, 114; 

rotation, II, 201 

Cropper, John, Jr., I, 426, 454 
Crops, I, 7-8 

II, 63-64, 100-01, 153-54, 158-59, 
186, 264, 267-69, 271, 297-300, 345- 

Cross Keys, II, 290 

Cross Roads, II, 81, 84 

Crosse Creek, II, 137 

Crowley, D. T., II, 262 

Cruciform church, I, 78 

Crutchfield, Stapleton, I, 165 

Crystal Lake, II, 54, 66, 121, 126, 132 

CuUoden Moor battle, celebration, I, 378 

Culpeper Minute Men, I, 301 

Culture, I, 151-52, 183-86 

II, 120-21, 197, 229-34 

Cumberland Street Baptist Church, Nor- 
folk, I, 448, 466 

Cumberland Street Methodist Church, 
Norfolk, I, 446, 462, 498 

Cunningham, William, I, 425 

Curfew, Navy Yard, II, 2 1 

Curie, John, I, 148; 



Curie, Pascho, I, 1 29; 

Thomas, I, 125; 

William Roscoe Wilson, I, 156, 

159' 415 
Cjirleii', II, 297 
Currituck, I, 365 
Currituck Inlet, I, 267 
Currituck Sound, I, 15, 37, 53, 308, 366 

II, 99 
Curtis-Dunn Marine Industries Yard, 

Custis, George Washington Parke, I, 197; 

Mar>' Anne Randolph, I, 197 

Customs, collectors, I, 129, 131-32, 156- 


Surveyor General, I, 377-78 

Customs House, U. S., I, 429, 465 

II, 152, 171 
Cutshaw, W. E., I, 172-73 
Cuttyhunk, I, 58 
Cypress Chapel, II, 140, 149, 154, 165, 

Cypress Creek, II, 272-73 
Cypress Swamp, II, 187 
Cypress trees, II, 185-86, 188, 263; 

water, II, 68 


DUKW, II, 118-19 

Dahlquist, John E., I, 209 

Daily Southern Argiis, Norfolk, II, 101- 

Dairying, II, 101-02, 179, 203 
Dale, Richard, I, 305 

II, 5, 10; 

Sir Thomas, I, 68, 106, 192 

II; 343-47; 

Sir Thomas, expedition, II, 135-36 

Dale's Gift, 1, 69-70 

Dale's Laws, II, 345 
Dale's Point, II, 10 
Dalr^mple, R., I, 463 
Dam Neck, I, 280 

II. 54. 77.91. 102-04, 126, 128; 

Life Saving Station, II, 91-92 

Dams, I, 126 

Dana, Charles A., I, 201 
Dance trains, II, 116 
Dancing Point, I, 71 
Danville, I, 201, 473 

II, 32, 295 
Darden, Alfred H., II, 261; 

Colgate W., Jr., II, 303; 

J. Pretlow, II, 303 

Dare, Ananias, II, 319, 321; 

Eleanor, II, 319, 321; 

Virginia, I, 57, 331 

II, 321, 329 

Darling, J. S., and Son plant, Hampton 

(illus.), I, 184 
Dasamonquepeuc, I, 14, 37 
Daughters of American Revolution (D.S. 

R.), Fort Nelson Chapter, II, 17 
Davis, James, I, 66, 68 

II, 261; 

Jefferson, I, 200-02, 206-08 

II, 201, 261; 

M. L. T., I, 474; 

Mrs. Jefferson, I, 201-02; 

Q. C, Jr., II, 49; 

Thomas, I, 390, 415, 417, 444; 

Thomas (II), I, 391; 

William, I, 244, 391; 

Winnie, I, 202 

Day, Henry Mason, I, 95 

II, 279-80; 

James, II, 254 

Death rate, high, I, 119 

II, 350-52 
De Bry, Theodore, I, 3, 16-18 
Decatur, II, 295 
Decatur, Stephen, I, 158, 252 

II. 359 
Declaration of Independence, I, 176 
Deep Creek, I, 85, 296, 301, 305 

II, 5, 10, 96, 188, 195, 199 
Deepwater, West \^irginia, I, 491, 493 
Deer, I, 6 



II, 185, 302, 320 
Defense, wartime, I, 5 1 1 

II, 146, 175 
Defense Department, U. S., I, 215 
De Kalb County, I, 178 
Delaunee, Francois, I, 132 
Delaware, I, 199 

II, 12 
Dela\\'are, Thomas West, Lord, I, 67, 84 

II, 342-43 
Delk, Dawson, II, 261 
Deming, J. C, I, 474 
Democrats, I, 471 
Denbigh, II, 199, 202, 214 
Denbigh Baptist Church, II, 197 
Denbigh Plantation, I, 85, 89, 94 
Denbigh Parish, I, 94, 230 

II, .93 
Denbv, Charles, I, 318; 

Ed\\ard, I, 318; 

Edward (II), I, 318; 

Lemuel, I, 299; 

Margaret, I, 299; 

• William, I, 318 

Denbv Methodist Church, I, 299 
Dentists, II, 180 
Department stores, I, 485 
De Pau